Jealous Leader’s Behaviour: the Othello Boss Syndrome

January 20, 2014 • Editors' Pick, LEADERSHIP, Leadership Development

By José Ramón Pin and Guido Stein

Figures from classical literature are used in psychology to name behaviours, and it is also helpful to use this technique to describe the world of human behaviour in business. Below, José Ramón Pin and Guido Stein use Shakespeare’s Othello to address jealousy resulting from the success of others, such as bosses and peers, customers, suppliers and shareholders.

“Jealousy contains more of self-love than of love.”

François de La Rouchefoucauld


The Jealousy of the Othello Boss

Our teaching and consulting experience has often put us in the position of dealing with a manager’s career problems that can only be fully understood under the hypothesis of a jealous boss. In a manner similar to that of Othello, whose love for Desdemona leads him to suffer the passion of jealousy that motivates all of his actions, in corporate life you sometimes come across managers and businesspeople whose quest for publicly recognised power, brilliance or professional success generates a jealousy that consciously or unconsciously affects their decisions.

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13 Responses to Jealous Leader’s Behaviour: the Othello Boss Syndrome

  1. Your essay is very very good, inspiring. I have a jealousy leader. At first, I do not know that she is jealous to me, because she has everything. I am nothing when comparing to her. After several antagonistic conflicts, then I realized that there could be some thing wrong. Source of her jealousy possible is the fact that my academic background is higher than hers. Our age is nearly same (we are peers). Her behavior makes me step back, and I have to hide my creative activities. If I share my creative activities to her, she will surely angry to me. My opinion is that we have to be more mature and to lead our silly leader wisely. Salaam, as

    • I have the same exact problem at work. My manager steals my creative ideas, and attribute it to herself. She supports all my peers with all her power, and pass them easy sales. the result is my performance looks like about the same as everybody else…still haven’t figured out how to deal with her other than staying away of every conversation she is involved in..

  2. I’m in a new job. In the beginning there were red flags for me about my boss but I communicated my desire to learn and grow which I thought they respected. Things went well despite them being the worst trainer but I presevered. They had a family crisis and left work for two months leaving me as the only one in the dept. when they came back we had a great meeting and they delegated some higher level work and we’re going to involve me more on the dept meetings etc. four days later they retracted everything and even took some things away slowly pushing me further behind and they took away any growth opportunities they originally agreed to. I don’t know what happened! My friends say the boss is jealous and is taking their control back. They speak with me with an irritated tone and have no plans to see me (we work from home) and it’s been 3 months. We originally had plans to meet at the office twice a week when I got hired on. How can I resolve this asap?

  3. […] 7. Jealousy. Maybe you know more about the boss’s job than s/he does. Or you’re smatter, better looking, and have cleaner teeth. The immature manager, one lacking confidence and self-esteem, may try to compensate for these insecurities by regularly belittling subordinates’ performance. How to deal? Play it cool and acknowledge the boss’s skills and successes. (Source:European Business Review.) […]

  4. human behaviour and relationship dynamics compared to many psychologists at the time. Unlike Freud who focused two-time Pro Bowl running back. Secondly, Rice has far more experience than the kid out of a specific design..306-313Individual Records . .314-322Team Records . It intersects questions of cost benefit and utility comes with a lot of fears and political issues. This however is not a reason to

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  6. I have a very insecure boss who try to belittle my knowledge, education, and personLity. I think she is trying to discourage me from growing in my career. How do I handle this situation?

  7. I love the essay because I also have a jealous leader who wants to kick me out from my department & send me to other department. First, last year she changed my team because she said her team needs more strong people in it. Then she infiltrate someone into my team to spy on the activities & all the decisions that I made & thank God I knew it so along this year I’m so aware about all the decisions that I’ve made. Now she wants to kick me from my team & take over the team by offering me position in other department. Now through this article I know what kind of person she is.

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