8 Subtle Signs Your Boss Is Insecure

Maryam Taheri
8 min readApr 17

In every role we ever have we’re all going to work with different people: people who work similarly to us, people who work differently from us, and every working style in-between. We’re all human, so this means we’re also going to be faced with everyone else’s insecurities — and they’re going to be faced with ours. We can’t escape the normal human flaws of our colleagues and managers, but we definitely do have to learn to deal with them.

But did you know that some of the most common frustrations employees have with their coworkers and managers usually stem from the fact that their coworker or manager is actually insecure? Here’s how to spot it — and more importantly, how to deal with the things your boss and coworkers might be doing out of insecurity.

Signs of Insecurity


When your boss or colleague isn’t secure in their authority — possibly because they’re struggling with imposter syndrome, they often take it out on their colleagues in the form of micromanagement. They don’t quite believe that people take them seriously, and so they try to assert their authority and validate their position by being overly-controlling of the people around them. They may feel very insecure in their role and not trust you to do your job as a result, and so you’ll find them constantly hovering over your shoulder, backseat-driving on your projects and decisions all day long.

Lack of Decision Making or Responsibility

This is another one off the “Imposter Syndrome Greatest Hits” list. If someone is insecure in their authority and doesn’t trust their own expertise — or believes they don’t get a second chance after any kind of mistake — they’ll usually duck away from decision-making or taking responsibility. People with imposter syndrome often feel that a single mistake will expose them as a fraud, so they avoid taking responsibility or leading in tough decisions, even if they’re perfectly capable of handling it themselves, because they’re subconsciously afraid that one wrong move will cost them enormously.


This ties back to being afraid of being perceived as in-the-wrong. When someone is secure in their judgment and role…

Maryam Taheri

Certified Coach, Founder, Advisor, Mindset + Leadership Expert, and Dog Mom http://linkin.bio/maryamataheri