How to Respond to a Pestering Nagging Boss

I always hated people checking up on me. I felt insulted. I thought:

  1. Leave me alone.
  2. Get off my back.
  3. Mind your own business.
  4. Don’t you trust me?
  5. Have I disappointed you in the past?
  6. Do you think I’m incompetent?
  7. Don’t you have something better to do?

You work for a nagging boss when:

#1. You have let people down in the past.

If you want people to nag you, miss a few deadlines.

Work is stressful enough. Lower your boss’s stress by delivering projects on time or sooner.

#2. Your boss has a nagging boss.

Maybe your boss breathes down your neck because someone is breathing down hers.

#3. Your boss is always reminding you of milestones and deadlines.

“Don’t forget your project is due in six months.” Ugh!!

#4. Your boss asks for work before it’s due.

#5. Your boss offhandedly asks for an update when you’re walking down the hall.

5 tips for dealing with nagging bosses:

#1. Accept them.

You make things worse when you tell a worrier to stop worrying. Your stressed-out boss isn’t going to chill out in the next few weeks.

#2. Thank them.

Use irritation as a trigger to do something useful.

You feel like saying, “Get off my back, jerk!” Instead say, “Thanks for asking.”

(The thanks-for-asking strategy fits many situations.)

#3. Understand their concerns.

Say, “I notice you often ask for progress reports, what are your concerns?” You might learn that they’re trying to show they care.

#4. Beat them to the punch.

Give reports before you’re asked.

If they jump in your business once a week, send a weekly update. If it’s daily, stick your head in their office and say, “I’m working on….”

#5. Involve them.

Tell them what your working on and ask for ideas. (Be sure to use plural so that you can reject some of their suggestions.)

What are your suggestions for dealing with a nagging pestering boss?