Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Sometimes managers pick on the smallest details. Above, The Incredible Hulk. Universal Studios via Reuters
Sometimes managers pick on the smallest details. Above, The Incredible Hulk. Universal Studios via Reuters

How to deal with the green-eyed monster when he's your boss

Managers and leaders should encourage gifted team members to achieve big goals, and be there to assist them when they need it.

Fatima, a 23-year-old marketing associate, appeared confused and depressed when we met for coffee the other day.

"The weirdest thing is happening to me at work," she said. "I told you how my manager loved my work when I started over a year ago, and how the team was great. I helped launch new initiatives at work, and my end-of-year appraisal result was great. I even got a promotion within a year. Then a month ago, everything went bitter."

"What do you mean?" It did not make sense to me, and I wanted to know what happened.

"My line manager started to pick on the smallest details, and he is always too busy to see me," she said. "At my annual appraisal, he said he would be sending me on more training courses abroad. But when I asked him about that recently he said that we need to rethink this one.

"I feel like I have gone from being his favourite employee to his sworn enemy. His treatment changed."

"Something must have happened between your appraisal results and a month ago," I insisted. "Nothing really," she said. "I've been working on projects with our chief executive instead of my line manager, as per his request."

"Bingo," I replied. "Did your line manager ask you to do that, or did the chief executive decide that on his own?"

"Our chief heard that I was the mastermind behind several projects, and knew how enthusiastic I am about my work. I've tagged along on my line manager's meetings with him, and I have voiced my opinion when asked. I guess it's great in a way as the other managers said that rarely do junior staff members work along with the chief executive."

"There you have it," I exclaimed. "You've been in your first job less than two years, and I know you've worked on so many projects that would take others years to accomplish. No wonder your boss is treating you that way. He is afraid you will steal his thunder."

"No way," responded my friend. "My manager is way more experienced and qualified than I am."

The thing is, my friend hashelped to launch five projects in a year, including a new online newsletter, redesigned the corporate website, and brought in high-net-worth clients, when her line manager did not even accomplish half of that.

He might be experienced, but my friend was full of ideas. She was ahead of him in so many things, and that posed a threat.

I have heard similar stories from others who constantly complain about mistreatment from their seniors, especially when they are enthusiastic about their jobs and come up with ideas that would impress higher management.

When I tell them that their manager could be feeling threatened, and that is normal, they say they do not want their manager's job yet, and that what they are doing is more fun.

But their managers do not necessarily know what my friends want. And even if my friends mentioned to their managers that they do not want their jobs, there is no guarantee the managers will believe them

When people are afraid they think emotionally and not rationally.

Managers might even think that after doing all those great things, their star employee would leave for a better job and they would look bad for losing them and for not being able to pick up their workload.

The best solution for employees who face such situations is to not to slow down because their managers are threatened.

On the contrary they should keep trying to improve, letting people across the company know their potential, and reassure their boss they are not a threat, starting the conversation with something along the lines of: "Sometimes I have a feeling that my style at work might make you feel uneasy."

As for managers and leaders, when you are gifted with awesome team members, encourage them to achieve big goals, and be there to assist them when they need it.

When you help them do so, you automatically become a part of their success. After all, this is what leadership is all about.


Manar Al Hinai is an award winning Emirati writer and fashion designer based in Abu Dhabi

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National