I'm been struggling with my boss who is a total control freak:

Any initiative I've had has been shut down; if they've ever been revived later on, it's only because someone else (a customer) asked for the feature and all a sudden my ideas were now what he needs...

It's been frustrating and totally demotivating, because I don't own anything. It seems like the only way to get my ideas 'accepted', is for those to look like they are his/her ideas.

The question is: is there techniques one would recommend to get to this point, without losing my mind.


  • 2
    What are the good parts about the job? I'd consider looking at other options if you dislike your boss so much.
    – midfield99
    Jul 24 '16 at 5:54
  • @midfield99 obviously this is something I considered but this is not an option at this time.
    – MrE
    Jul 25 '16 at 19:58

When you present something with a single option of do it or don't do it, the control freak will choose not to do it.

When you have something you need done (one of these initiatives that gets shut down), how about presenting it to your boss as one of a range of options. So long as you make sure that it's the option that will be selected, the control freak gets to make a decision (they get to shoot down a couple of other options) and what needs to be done gets selected.

Alternatively, all options contain the same important features, and all contain a few pet ducks for him to shoot down, such that it doesn't matter what he selects.

They feel like they're in charge and are making decisions; you get to do what needs to be done. You win, they win.

I routinely do this; I present a range of options to the decision maker, having made sure that no matter which one they pick, I can nod and say, "Wise move, boss, that's clever," and get on with what needs to be done. It's worked out well so far.

  • while this seems like a good strategy, I guess I've been facing a more challenging problem, where basically we have a problem, and I'm asked to figure a solution, which I do, but then the boss comes up with his own solution which is often poor, and when comes time to present my solution he shuts it down and asks me to work on his genius idea instead, because it's obviously better: I've wasted my time, and then have to work an something that I find sub-standard and is not mine. Just frustrating.
    – MrE
    Jul 24 '16 at 4:16

I could not pull it off but a buddy of mine used to present idea number 2 as something he could not quite figure out with a weak number one. Every time boss next day boss would come back with number 2 as a life saver. We called the boss number 2.

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