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How to Manage Dominant and Pushy Bosses

Updated: Feb 7

Bosses who are dominant and pushy can create a negative work environment, but employees can take steps to deal with this situation.


I attended a cocktail reception of a leadership event recently and I got to mingle and enjoy a few drinks with many CEOs, HODs etc. Save for a handful of close business associates, many participants were new to me. It was a great opportunity for me to meet new people, exchange thoughts and ideas, and develop new friendships.

An executive director of a local business council was introduced to our group of three by the host. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, he started to dominate the conversation and bragged about his successes, his wealth and his assets. He even pushed us for answers whenever his questions on our personal assets (cars, watches etc) are dodged by us.

His behaviour left the three of us perplexed and uncomfortable. Although I am usually patient and tolerant, I could not continue listening to him brag and with a smile followed by raising of my wine glass, I excused myself and joined another group.

As I walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder how this leader performs in his organisation. Is he naturally a dominant and pushy person or did his position in his organisation made him into a dominant and pushy person? Regardless of whether it is by choice or by chance that this leader is dominant and pushy, a leader who is overly assertive and demanding can create a negative work environment and can make employees feel stressed and overworked.

Why bosses can be dominant and pushy

Reason #1: Position of power

One of the main reasons that bosses can be dominant and pushy is due to their position of power. They are in charge of their employees, and they may feel that they need to assert their authority in order to maintain control and get things done. This can lead to them becoming overly demanding and pushy, which can cause stress and discomfort for their employees.

Reason #2: Personal characteristics

Another reason that bosses can be dominant and pushy is due to their personal characteristics.

Some people are naturally more assertive and dominant than others, and this can be amplified when they are in a position of power. This can make it difficult for employees to feel comfortable communicating with their bosses or working with them on a daily basis.

Some bosses may lack communication skills and may be poor communicators, and they use their position to assert their authority, instead of using positive and constructive methods of communication.

Reason #3: Stress and pressure

In some cases, bosses may also become dominant and pushy as a result of their own stress and pressure. They may feel that they need to push their employees in order to meet deadlines or reach goals, which can lead to them becoming more demanding and aggressive.

Reason #4: Lack of confidence and feeling of insecurity

Lack of confidence and feeling of insecurity can have a significant impact on a boss's leadership style and the overall work environment. When a boss lacks confidence and feels insecure, he may try to control his employees in an attempt to appear competent and assert his authority. This often takes the form of micromanagement, where the boss is constantly checking in on his employees and giving detailed instructions on how tasks should be completed.

This type of behaviour can lead to a lack of trust and respect from employees, as well as a decrease in morale and motivation. In some cases, a boss's lack of confidence and insecurity may stem from the need to prove himself to his superiors. This can create a stressful and high-pressure work environment, where employees are constantly being monitored and evaluated. The boss may also be reluctant to delegate tasks or share decision-making responsibilities, which can result in an overburdened workforce and decreased productivity.

Tips on how to deal with dominant and pushy bosses

So, how can employees deal with bosses who are dominant and pushy?

Tip #1: Communicate clearly and assertively

If your bosses are making unreasonable demands, it’s important to communicate this to them. Speak up and let them know that you are feeling stressed or overworked, and try to find a solution that works for both of you. Be confident and clear when communicating your needs, opinions, and boundaries.

Tip #2: Set boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries with your bosses, especially if they are making unreasonable demands. Let them know what you are comfortable with, and make sure that you stick to those boundaries.

Tip #3: Seek support from others

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to seek support from others. Talk to your co-workers or HR, and find someone who can help you deal with the situation. An executive coach can certainly help in this aspect.

Tip #4: Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself is important when dealing with dominant and pushy bosses. Make sure that you are getting enough rest, exercise, and taking time for yourself.

Tip #5: Focus on work

If your bosses are dominant or pushy, try to focus on your work and avoid getting caught up in the drama. This can help you stay productive and maintain a positive attitude.

Tip #6: Document everything

Keeping a record of your interactions with your bosses, including emails and meeting notes, can help you build a case if you need to escalate the situation.


Bosses who are dominant and pushy can create a negative work environment, but employees can take steps to deal with this situation. Employees can manage their relationship with their bosses and reduce the stress and discomfort they may be feeling when they communicate clearly and assertively, set boundaries, seek support from others, practice self-care, focus on work, and document things.


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