Boss’s Wife Is Tyrannical Supervisor

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss’s mean wife: My boss does not want to deal with his delusional wife so he’s let her move into the office and use the title of Office Supervisor

My boss does not want to deal with his delusional wife so he’s let her move into the office and use the title of Office Supervisor and completely take over with no business skills at all. He does not control her at all and she completely controls everyone in this office in the most selfish and manipulative ways. She sets alliances and wants everyone on her side. She even complains about who moved her plant. How do I deal with this?

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

You ask how you can deal with the problematic wife of the boss (who I assume is the owner of the business). Keep in mind that she might be doing exactly what her husband wants her to do. Or, it could be that he doesn’t agree with her tactics but he has more loyalty to her than to regular employees. (It seems he already has shown that by placing her in a supervisory position.)

Consider some of the following thoughts as you look for ways to enjoy work again or to adjust to having the boss’s wife as your Office Supervisor:

1. Be certain you don’t let your personal feelings about her have an effect on how you interpret everything she does. You clearly dislike her and that may make you view all of her actions as negative. Consider writing some specific examples of things she has done and have someone who knows the situation but who is uninvolved tell you if they think your supervisor was being inappropriate or unreasonable. That may be a good perspective to hear.

2. As I mentioned already, remember that whether you like your supervisor or not, she is still the boss’s wife. Avoid gossiping about her at work or giving the appearance of conspiring with other employees to resist her direction. You or others might end up losing your jobs, whether it is fair or not.

3. If you were close to your boss before and think you can do so, consider talking to him in a milder way about your frustrations. This could be very risky, so you would want to be certain you can be open and honest with him. Perhaps you could suggest that he observe and review specific situations that have bothered you the most. Just keep your critique based on specific actions rather than on her personally.

4. You don’t say what you have done to communicate with your supervisor about these issues. You may not want to try, given your feelings about her. However, if you never discuss your concerns with her, your only other option is to grit your teeth and tolerate the way she does things. Perhaps by discussing specific situations you can make her aware of how she is making others feel. Or perhaps she thinks she is doing the right thing and you can hear her reasoning about it.Consider asking for regular meetings with her and other employees to discuss how to improve work, how to improve customer service, how to make work more enjoyable and how to build the work team, among other topics. You may need to take a leadership role in this process, but it might be very beneficial.

5. You may find that the only thing you can do is stay focused on your own good work and wait this situation out. As long as you and others don’t participate in her efforts to form alliances and create problems, you can keep good workplace that you had before, in spite of her actions.

6. At some point you may have to decide if the situation is intolerable and you would rather quit and get away from the negative influence of your boss’s wife. That would be extreme of course. You may find that rather than give up a good job, you will simply tolerate some of the things she does, ignore others and mildly question others, when you can.I wish there was a quick fix and a sure answer, but maybe over time you will be able to make your work enjoyable once again, without being so very upset by your supervisor’s actions. Best wishes to you!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.