Q&A: My boss undermines me – now what?

Nov 21, 2023 | Burning Question


My boss talks over me and doesn’t want my suggestions. I think my expertise threatens him as he only has 1 more year of experience than I have, but a much bigger job. He controls the projects I am assigned to, my upcoming raise, and my path to promotion. I want to stay with this company but do not know how to navigate this situation. Help! – Leandra, 30

A. Everyone deserves a great boss. Unfortunately, they aren’t as common as you might hope. Sounds like you are working with someone who is insecure and defensive, and as you mentioned, threatened by your expertise. You have a few options:

  • Tip #1: Before sharing your point of view, begin with a positive observation: “That’s a great perspective. I’d like to build on that with this idea _______.
  • Tip #2: Focus on company benefits, not his shortcomings: “This new approach could increase sales by 10% and boost our customer satisfaction score – what are your thoughts?” 💼 
  • Tip #3: In a private conversation, seek alignment with your manager: “I am eager to grow and build my career here. Do I have your support? How can we work better together?” 🤝

If he is not open to your feedback or improving how you work together, then seek a new role elsewhere in the company (with a more skilled manager) or explore opportunities elsewhere.


My boss routinely cancels our weekly 1:1 meeting so it’s hard for me to be on a path to promotion without her engagement. We both work hybrid schedules, so it’s hard to be in the same place at the same time. How do I get my boss to honor our check-in meetings so I can feel confident that I have upward mobility? – Zari, 29

  • Tip #1: Make meeting in person a priority because a live conversation is the most impactful. 💬 Flex your schedule to align with hers, within reason. If she has an assistant, build a relationship with that person so you can learn the optimal scheduling windows.
  • Tip #2: Your backup option is to write an email that expresses your concern and eagerness to be a valued, high performer.
    • For example, “I am not sure if you’re aware, but our last 3 1:1s have been canceled. I am concerned that missing our 1:1 time is impacting my ability to get feedback from you and be on the path to promotion that we discussed at the beginning of the year. Can we meet this week to reset and discuss the best way to work together? I’m attaching an article about strategies for hybrid teams that can serve as inspiration.” 📈

Use this check-in to build trust and demonstrate your professionalism.

  • Tip #3: Drive the agenda and send it 24 hours in advance. Create a consistent format that works for you and your manager such as: ⬇️
    • Active project list
    • Status updates (green, yellow, red flags)
    • Feedback requests
    • Professional growth (path to promotion, skill development)
    • Upcoming key dates (time-off requests, travel, etc.)

Be direct and let her know that – with her support – you want to continue growing and be promoted, and you’re willing to do the hard work. 🙌

P.S. Do you have a challenging work dynamic or tricky conversation weighing on you? Don’t deal with it alone. Share your specific situation with us by emailing it to community@equiptwomen.com for a chance to receive personalized advice in an upcoming newsletter. (We only use first names so you can be anonymous). 🔥

If your work.life feels out of control, take control.

Subscribe to our newsletter for practical tips, tools, and strategies to increase your power and reduce your stress.

Explore More