Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / OCT. 13, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How To Deal With A Boss Who Makes Promises But Never Delivers

Going to work every day is stressful enough when you are new to a job or hold a job that hands you a ton of responsibility. To make matters worse, some bosses will make promises to their employees, but then never deliver on those promises. These types of bosses are known as ‘carrot danglers’ and they more than likely do this to more than just one of their employees.

The behaviour of a boss like this can be damaging to workplace morale, and leave you scratching your head wondering what to do? In worst cases, a boss who cannot hold true to promises made can ruin your chances of getting promoted, recognized for your efforts, and worse yet -- you can become a scapegoat for their failures. Don’t fall prey to this kind of behaviour! 

Dealing with the Broken Promise Boss

If you are facing a boss who doesn’t deliver on the promises made, here are some ways you can get things back on track, or at least cope in the meantime.

Get All Promises in Writing

One of the best methods of dealing with a boss who makes promises, but fails to deliver is to make sure you document all promises in writing. Whenever you have a meeting with a supervisor who offers you incentives for work completed, make sure you get it all in writing. This will show the boss that you are serious about your reward and that you expect for the promise to be kept if you perform your work.

This can be done in a face-to-face meeting with the boss by asking them to write down what was discussed (or it can be done via email). Send an email following a meeting to your supervisor and make sure you CC yourself. Discuss the promise and what was to be given to you if the work is completed correctly.

Collect on the Promise

The next step you must absolutely take is to collect on the promise. Do not forget to do this, because even if you got something in writing, the boss might not offer up the reward on his or her own. Bring the documentation of the promise and approach the boss with a nice attitude. You can then ask for the promise to be fulfilled while showing the boss the documentation. In other words, make sure your boss is just as accountable for the thing he says he will do as he expects you to be when delivering work. 

Talk to Human Resources

If you fail to collect on the promise from your boss despite having written documentation of it, you need to pay a visit to the human resources department about the issue. Bring a list of instances when promises were not kept, which can only be done if you have documentation of every promise made to you. Do not get upset during the meeting or have an attitude, as this will only hurt the situation. Make sure you ask the human resources rep what your next steps should be in resolving this issue.

Consider Moving to a New Company or Department

Should the broken promises continue, it realistically looks like promises will never be kept by your boss. Now is the time to consider moving on to a new department, or even a new company. Try to earn a promotion to a higher-level position or to a whole new department. You can even begin to look for jobs outside of the company.

Before you leave, however, have a sit-down talk with your boss privately. Ask how you can make their life easier. Find out if possibly there are some communication issues at play. It could be that your boss is scatterbrained and unable to keep track of all promises made. 


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