All humans made errors and we are never one perfect being. Even bosses. Despite some of them think they are the greatest person on earth and we should not use our brains but to kiss the ground they walked on. Yes, as painful as it is, there are such bosses and I have encountered enough of them in my lifetime. But it is not them that I found hard to reject, it is actually the nicer bosses that I found nearly impossible to say no to even I know it is good for them.

Here are the scenarios and ways on how to say no to your boss (without casualties):


1. Boss insist he is right when he is wrong
Openly invite him to explain to you and be open-minded when he does that. Ask questions to probe and understanding his points of view. Gather facts and figures to reason with him and share, not argue your point across. You can also refer to this article which I expand on this advice.


2. Boss ask you to work overtime today
And you can’t because of personal commitment. It is alright to let your boss know you have a life after work. If it is occasionally requested, it’s probably fine as long as you are properly compensated. If it’s more than once a week, it is perhaps time to seek a much more permanent raise in benefits. You can be nice too, by offering to do overtime the next day or by asking someone else to step in to take the extra duty.


3. Boss ask you to double up someone else’s duty
I don’t mind doubling up someone’s duty even to cover for them when they are on leave. Especially if the role is distinctively different from mine, gives me a great opportunity to learn something new and add on to my profile. It is a win-win situation so why not? However, if your boss is reining in this favour once too many times to be comfortable and you are suspecting he is trying to save money not to a hire someone new instead paying you one salary two jobs, it is about time to call his bluff. You don’t have to threaten to leave (not yet) but you could tell him straight up that it is not fair and right to you.


4. Boss ask you to be patient
You have been waiting for a promotion for years (key word here is YEARS) or you have watched silently as you get passed on promotions after promotions. If you are sure that it is not your capabilities or your attitude that is hindering you from climbing up, find out what it is. Is it rubbing shoulders and bias on the bosses’ end? Or it is the company loves to play by the “longer you work here, the higher you climb” rule. If it does not seem fair to you, set an ultimatum with your boss. Appreciate you or you’ll walk.


5. Boss ask you to be more
Unless your boss is specific, more is more at where, at what? Some bosses I know tends to say things like “You have to work harder to get that promotion.” or “Your numbers have to be better.” These are non-specific comments and are as good as not saying them. Probe at your boss to give you a specific target. Work Harder = Longer Hours? Number to be better than what? Set a target.

Do you face a different scenario? Let us know how you handle it at the below comments.

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58 replies on “Rejecting Your Boss

  1. Can I consider team leader as boss here? Because I work under one and he reports to his manager.
    Anyway, the points you have raised are so valid. Especially the 3rd one as I see that in my work on daily basis. Many times I was assigned to do someone else’s work and I delivered them. But last month when I found out that one PGX of my team is being selected in another department and instead of announcing an internal vacancy to replace him, I was “chosen” to perform a 2 men job.
    Some may look at this as a great opportunity and up to some extent, I also. But this also means an extra bag of workload on my back when there is no space for another.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would say take on the extra load but if you do a good job at it, confront your boss with the results, using it as a leverage for a payraise or promotion. Otherwise, ask him to hire someone else to cover the extra duties.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As Hammad alluded to, the term boss can be vague. Currently I work in a government department that is quite sizable with many divisions. There are a few managers within my team, one of whom I directly report too. But on a day-to-day basis, I’ll report to the team leader or the senior officer when it comes to doing daily tasks on the job.

    Doubling up someone’s duty is something I’ve always been asked to do. It’s always the case when your colleague can’t come in for the day, and I end up taking up the share of their work. In a sense, that is teamwork and it is a chance to show your boss what you are capable of.


    1. In my opinion, doubling someone’s work in a short period is fine. It was you are doing dual roles for more than a month where the company should have taken action to hire a temp or a contractor. I have friends who are both the administrative and accounting or sales and the customer service. It’s hard to concentrate on both key roles and excel, and in the long run, it might be detrimental to you and the company.


      1. Getting a worker to do multiple roles for an extended period of time could be due to lack of funding to higher another person. Then again, it isn’t right to work someone so hard that it takes a toll on them physically and mentally.

        I have had many colleagues who have helped out with other roles for a short-term, and after that never came back to my department – they moved on to that other department.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When the boss is “wrong,” it’s often not clear-cut right or wrong but a judgment call as to which way forward is best. If a boss is doing 10 things well and one thing poorly, I have a friend who will obsess over that one thing and bother the boss until he gets fired. I, on the other hand, figure it’s my job to recommend different possibilities to the boss, but it’s the boss’s job to decide, and once he/she does, we should all try 100% to implement that decision well, even if it differs from our recommendation. (I have my flaws, but at least in this respect I’m better off than my friend.) 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said. Your friend is really obsessed! I have seen people like that and it is sad that they wrapped around their heads to let it go. Sometimes you let it go for a while to revisit the issue some other times. It’s almost like flying a kite or doing a tango.


  4. Hi Kally:

    Excellent post. I think number 3 can be especially problematic. Hopefully we all are willing to extend ourselves from time to time to help out at work. You point out a lot of good reasons to do so. Healthy workplaces recognize this extension, express gratitude ( a ‘thank-you’ will suffice), and get you back to your normal workload. Unhealthy workplaces see you doing extra work and expect it to occur all the time. The danger in this case is that nobody wants to extend themselves to help out…ever.

    Have a great weekend,


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good article. The problem with bosses is that bad bosses vastly outnumber good ones. I had 4 or 5 bosses in my life, only one was very good. A woman. (Who could also be very manipulative.) 🙂
    So, one has to realize that there are many “bad”, mean, incompetent bosses and try to “survive” around them and move on. The ultimate solution, which I chose, was to become a boss, by founding my own company. Then one has to deal (fairly) (always) with employees, and… CLIENTS. They’re the worst bosses. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a lot of bosses in my life and I am pretty fortunate to have more great bosses than the nasty ones. Sure, everyone has its flaws but as long as they are genuinely wants the best for and of me, I’ll consider them good. Many of my bosses became my mentors and friends, we kept in touch even I relocate. 🙂 I guess it might be due to the industries you work in because even I was in the cut throat sales line, I have sales directors who watched my back and always support my ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is good. You are right, sales is cut-throat, but my vision of a good Boss is two-fold: a) treat “your” people like human beings. 🙂 b) Watch your people’s back. Of course there is a c): Give feedback. All the time on the good and the bad. That way you give them direction. A team without direction is a losing army. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Post-Data: You can’t fight (reject) the Boss. The Boss may not always be right, he always wins. Sad but true. So, don’t fight, find a way around the boss. And, eventually, “hire” yourself a good boss.


  7. Now in love with ur ideas . thanks Kally. U have been writing some excellent stuff. Yeah u were right when u say its harder to say no to nicer boss. But yea on the other hand its good to let him know u have life after office . and yeah do not hesitate to say no when it requires .otherwise it becomes difficult to balance personal life and professional life.

    Liked by 1 person

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