Signs Your Manager is Codependent

By Stacy Brookman, Women’s Leadership Coach.

In any workplace, it’s important to have a good relationship with your manager. But what happens when your manager is codependent?

In recent years, the term “codependency” has come to be used more frequently in the business world. While it is often used to describe a person’s relationship with a substance, codependency can also refer to someone who is excessively reliant on another person. This can be detrimental to both parties involved in the codependent relationship.

Codependency is defined as “an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.” In the context of a management position, a codependent manager is someone who relies on their employees for validation and self-worth.

For example, an employee who is codependent on their boss may feel that they cannot do their job without constant approval or reassurance from their superior. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and insecurity, which can impact job performance. Alternatively, a boss who is codependent on an employee may micromanage them or give them unrealistic expectations in order to keep them happy. This can create a toxic work environment and cause immense stress for the employees.

Codependency is a real problem in the workplace:

Codependency is often thought of as a personal issue, something that only affects individuals in their romantic relationships. However, codependency can also be a real problem in the workplace.

When you think of codependency, you might think of a romantic relationship where one person is too needy and dependent on the other. But codependency can also show up in our professional lives – specifically, with our managers.

Codependent managers (or other employees, for that matter) may have difficulty asserting themselves or setting boundaries with coworkers. They may also stay in jobs longer than they should because they fear change or feel like they need to take care of others. This can lead to burnout and resentment.

How does codependency show up?

Codependency is a term that is often used to describe relationships in which one person is excessively dependent on another person. The term can also be used to describe a pattern of behavior in which one person enables another person’s addiction or bad behavior.

Excessive codependency can cause one person to feel suffocated by the other person’s dependence. It can also lead to resentment and feelings of being trapped in the relationship.

The signs of a codependent manager:

Perhaps you’re worried that your boss might be a little too codependent. What happens when your manager starts to act more like a friend than a boss? You might be working for a codependent manager.

There are several signs that you may be working for a codependent manager. If you can check the box on several of these signs, you might have a codependent manager:

● They’re in your face and micromanage your work or your every move
● They take credit for your ideas or your work
● They gossip about other employees with you
● They constantly seek your approval
● They constantly check in on you
● They need to be involved in your every decision, from how you do things to what tasks you take on
● They don’t trust you to do your job
● They try to control every aspect of your work life
● They’re always needing your reassurance and validation
● They’re afraid to “rock the boat”, which often shows up as not advocating for their department’s needs
● They have difficulty saying no to unreasonable demands, leading to excessive workloads
● They’re always available

If your manager has several of these boxes checked, you probably find it frustrating and difficult to get your work done.

How does codependency affect the workplace?

When a manager is codependent, it can create an unhealthy environment for everyone involved. The kind of behavior listed above can be damaging to both the manager and their employees. Codependent managers often have difficulty making decisions without input from others, and may be over-involved in the lives of their employees.

For employees, working under a codependent manager can be exhausting and demoralizing. They may feel like they can never do anything right, or that they’re constantly being watched. It’s evident that this creates an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, and employees may feel like they can’t do anything right.

This can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety, which can impact job performance. In extreme cases, it may even lead to burnout.

Other ways this affects a codependent manager’s employees:

● Employees feeling used and taken advantage of, which can damage morale and motivation.
● A manager’s indecision and confusion slows down productivity and causes unnecessary stress for everyone involved
● Codependent managers may struggle to delegate tasks or give criticism, both of which are important aspects of running a successful team and creates bottlenecks for employees

If you suspect that your manager may be codependent, try to have an honest conversation with them about your concerns. It may be helpful to suggest some boundaries that would improve workflows and help everyone feel more comfortable in the office.

It doesn’t feel good being codependent.

On the job, codependent managers may find it difficult to assert themselves, take initiative, or speak up for fear of upsetting others or being seen as too needy. In extreme cases, codependent managers may even enable workplace abuse.

In their personal lives, codependent managers may struggle with boundary issues, constantly putting others’ needs before their own. This can lead to codependents feeling used and unappreciated, causing resentment and further codependent behaviors.

Codependency can have a negative effect on their team dynamics for a variety of reasons. For one, team members may be more likely to engage in conflict with one another, vying to be their manager’s favorite. Additionally, codependency can lead to a lack of trust and communication within the team. Finally, codependent managers may be less likely to work together effectively and may even sabotage the team’s efforts.

What to do if you have a codependent boss:

Do you recognize your boss, or even someone else on your team? If so, there are some things you can do to help them.

First, try to understand why they are codependent. It may be due to past experiences or relationships. Once you understand their reasons, it will be easier to work with them.

Second, try to set boundaries with your boss. Be clear about what you are willing to do and what you aren’t.

This will help them feel more in control and less codependent. For example, if your boss always wants to know where you are and what you’re doing, tell them that you need some space and privacy.

Third, encourage your boss to get help from a professional if they want to change their behavior.

Codependency is a serious issue and it’s important to get help from someone who knows how to deal with it.

It’s also important to nurture your own sense of self-reliance. This means taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally, even if your boss is not able or willing to do so. Make sure to schedule time for yourself outside of work, and don’t let your work life consume you.

Conclusion: Codependency is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

In conclusion, codependency in the workplace is a serious issue that can lead to a number of negative consequences.

Codependent managers display a number of telling behaviors. These include difficulty delegating tasks, being excessively involved in employee lives, and having trouble making decisions. If you suspect that your manager may be codependent, it is important to have a conversation with them about your concerns. Only by openly communicating can you hope to improve the situation.

Women leaders who want to eliminate imposter syndrome leverage Stacy and her resilience coaching to clarify their power skills, charge up their problem-solving, and confidently command their seat at the table. Stacy is the founder of Real Life Resilience. If you’re ready to boost your resilience, download Stacy’s free resource on how mindfulness cultivates resilience:

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