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Here’s the Formula to Get a Stupid, Stubborn Boss to Respect You

by | Jan 2, 2023 | Startups

Most bosses treat you like a doormat and walk all over you.

Why? They don’t respect you. If your boss does respect you then they’re not the sort of stupid boss we’re talking about here, so please move along.

Here’s how to turn the tables and get your stupid boss to respect you.

Make their lack of respect your problem

It’s easy to fling poo at a dumb boss.

To complain about them by the water cooler with all the other deadbeats, whose careers will stagnate until they hit the 65 retirement age. Don’t be this person. Own the lack of respect.

5+ years ago I had a boss that didn’t respect me. They always gave me the worst tasks. Whenever there was admin to be done, that no one wanted to do, I’d get the “Yeah, Tim, I’m gonna need you to stay back and do these tasks for the team tonight.”

I copped it all the time. It felt like he was picking on me.

I was tall, skinny, had an eating disorder, and was extremely self-conscious. All it took was one rogue comment and it’d fracture my soul into a thousand tiny pieces for eternity. One day I had enough.

“I’ll show him!”

Make their life easy

A boss has a lot to do.

I found tasks that could make my boss’s life easier. I automated our roster for answering phone calls. And spoke with a colleague who was good with tech and got him to build a team wiki.

Whenever I saw an optimization that’d save my boss time, I took the liberty of doing it without asking for permission. You can too.

Fill in for them when they are away

Bosses are surprisingly human like the rest of us.

They get sick. They go on holidays. Their kid’s school camp causes them to skip work. While they’re away their meetings don’t stop.

They have two choices:

  1. Not attend the meeting
  2. Get someone else to attend

If they don’t attend then the meeting organizer may think they don’t care or are being rude. Why? Not everyone knows the reason for a person’s absence — so, we assume the worst.

All I did was offer to attend in his place. “Don’t want you to miss out or appear rude,” I’d say. Worked every time.

At each of these meetings, I’d learn more about the business and grow my own career simultaneously. When my boss returned to work I’d give them a short, sharp summary to save him time.

Send weekly wrap-ups

“What the hell have you done for me lately?”

That’s what a dumb boss who doesn’t respect you quietly thinks to themselves. Your job is to answer the question without being asked.

All I did was send a weekly update via email with dot points of what I’d done. Then I’d add the line “feel free to use any of these in your leadership meetings.” Why’d I say that?

Because your boss also has to explain to their boss the same question of “what have you done for me lately?”

Your summary helps them answer. Plus it makes them look like they know the inner workings of the business intimately. And that can get them a promotion or pay rise.

Doing things that get your boss promoted is a massive career hack.

Run a group training session

My boss didn’t respect me but I was actually a subject matter expert.

I knew our products better than any other sales consultant. One morning we had a group of newstarters. Our department didn’t have onboarding processes or sales training. So I offered to do it for my boss.

I put together a training manual and ran the newbies through it. When they jumped on the phone, I offered to take ad hoc questions whenever they needed to ask.

This had two effects:

  1. The newbies respected me and bizarrely saw me as their leader.
  2. My boss didn’t have to do the training or risk losing a newstarter because of a bad first impression (had happened before).

These strategies I’ve shared so far are for a boss who can be convinced to respect you through hard work.

But not all bosses are equal. Some will continue to disrespect you for no reason at all, or because of your race. For these bosses, there are more hostile ways to force their respect. Read on…


Makes friends with your boss’s boss

I love this one.

If you’re friends with your boss’s boss it’s harder for them to continue disrespecting you. They risk being exposed.

So, strike up a relationship with your boss’s boss. The soft way is to do it at a team event they might attend or at the office Christmas party. The more aggressive approach is to invite them for a coffee.

Either way, get to know your superiors. They make it harder for you to get fired, and can even give you a promotion out of that hellhole.

Wow customers to act as a shield

Customers are secret advocates. When my bad boss didn’t respect me it was hard for him to fire me because I had one of the biggest tech companies in North America backing me.

They kept telling my employer how valuable I was. They credited me for some of their Australian success.

No smart boss will fire a star performer backed by a big important customer.

Interview at competitors so your boss knows your worth

I had one bad boss that held me back.

I never found out why. It got to the point where I stopped caring. “If I lose my job then I lose my job” I used to say in my head on my way to work.

To be proactive, I went on LinkedIn and reached out to hiring managers and recruiters. I told them I was looking for my next career.

This landed me multiple job interviews.

Each time I’d learn about larger salaries and bigger bonuses I could be earning. I took this information back to my boss.

In a way, it forced them to respect me (especially when I showed them the offer letters with big-name logos).

Don’t be afraid to check your value in the job market.

Closing Thought

Getting your boss to respect you isn’t easy — but it’s worth it.

Your career is too short to be treated like a piece of garbage or forgotten about and left in the office corner to rot away until you’re 65 and 10 years from death.

Earn your boss’s respect. Or force them to respect you.

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