What To Do When Your Boss Breaks Promises – 12 Things To Do

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

What to do when your boss breaks promises? Well, the first thing is not to get too upset. It’s important to remember that your boss is likely very busy. And they may have unintentionally broken a promise.

Some promises are more important than others. If your boss has broken a vital promise, it is something to be upset about.

12 Things To Do When Your Boss Breaks Promises

Breaking promises can damage trust and respect. If you have lost trust or respect for your boss, maintaining a healthy working relationship won’t be easy.

Here’s what to do when your boss breaks promises:

1. Don’t Take It Too Personally:

Should you take it personally when your boss breaks promises? The answer is that it depends. If the promise was made regarding your work, do not take it too personally.

It could be difficult not to take it personally if the broken promise was made regarding something outside work.

Healthy working relationship - What To Do When Your Boss Breaks Promises

For example, if your boss promised to help you with your career development. But then he reneged. It would be understandable to take it personally.

Because the promise was in regards to your career, which is very important to you.

But such types of bosses are common in the corporate world. They often make promises they can’t or have no intention of keeping.

So, don’t take it too personally when your boss breaks promises.

2. Understand the Reason:

There could be several reasons why your boss breaks promises. It could be that he is too busy. Or maybe he forgot.

It’s also possible that he made the promise without thinking it through. It’s essential to understand the reason why your boss broke the promise.

This will help you decide how to react. Perhaps your boss made a genuine mistake. And it’s not a big deal.

Or maybe your boss is deliberately breaking promises. In which case, it’s a bigger deal.

3. Don’t Be Naive:

Just because your boss made a promise doesn’t mean he will keep it. It’s essential to be realistic.

Don’t be naive if your boss has a history of breaking promises. Don’t assume he will keep his word just because he said he would.

What to do then? Well, you could ask your boss to put his promise in writing. Or you could wait to see if he keeps his word before taking action.

Sometimes it’s best not to count on the promise. Instead, focus on what you can control. What is that? Your reaction.

4. Your Reaction Matters:

Instead of getting upset, have a calm and rational discussion with your boss. It’s essential to communicate your concerns constructively.

Your goal should be to maintain a healthy working relationship with your boss. Getting upset and yelling at him is not going to help.

Communicate your feelings if you’re upset because your boss broke a promise. It’s possible that he wasn’t aware of how important the promise was to you.

Communicating calmly and constructively makes your boss more likely to listen. There could be a misunderstanding that can get resolved.

5. Communication Dynamics:

Let’s start with the steps necessary for having a calm and rational discussion with your boss.

You’ll need to consider the communication dynamics between you and your boss. That is the power dynamic.

Are you in a position of authority or subordination? The answer to this question will determine how you approach your boss.

Calm and rational discussion - What To Do When Your Boss Breaks Promises

If you’re in a position of authority, you can directly converse with your boss. You can tell him that you’re upset because he broke a promise.

But, if you’re in a position of subordination, you’ll need to be more careful. You don’t want to get on your boss’s wrong side.

So, you’ll need to tread carefully. You could start by asking your boss if he has a minute to chat.

Then follow up with a question like, “I’m just curious; you promised me to ______.”

You’re less likely to be aggressive by framing it as a question.

6. Have Realistic Expectations:

It’s essential to have realistic expectations regarding promises made by your boss. Remember, your boss is human.

And humans are fallible. So, don’t expect your boss to keep every single promise he makes.

That’s not realistic. And you’ll only end up disappointed. While conversing with your boss, ask him about his intention regarding the promise.

It will give you a better idea of where you stand. You can say, “I’m just curious. Is there a timeline for this?”

Or, “What are the chances that this will happen?” Their answer will give you a better sense of what to expect.

For instance, if your boss says, “I’m not sure. I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Then it’s probably best not to get your hopes up.

7. Don’t Be a Doormat:

Just because you have a subordinate position doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat.

You can still stand up for yourself. You have to do it in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your relationship with your boss.

One way to do this is by using “I” statements. For example, you could say, “I am feeling bad because I was counting on you to keep your promise.”

Another way to stand up for yourself is to ask for what you want.

For instance, you could say, “I would appreciate it if you kept your promise.” Or, “Can we please devise a plan to ensure this promise?”

8. Seek Resolution:

The goal of discussing with your boss should be to seek resolution.

You want to come to a mutual understanding and agree on a course of action.

For instance, you could ask your boss to keep you in the loop regarding the promise.

Or, you could ask him to commit to a specific timeline. The important thing is to come to a resolution that works for both of you.

There are two types of resolution: short-term and long-term.

A short-term resolution would be, “I’ll keep you updated on my progress.”

A long-term resolution would be, “I’ll make sure to keep my promises from now on.”

9. Don’t Let It Affect Your Work:

It’s important not to let your boss break a promise affect your work. Remember, you’re a professional.

And you need to act like one. No matter how upset you are, you must maintain a positive attitude and do your job to the best of your ability.

Because your boss breaking a promise is not an excuse for you to slack off.

When your boss breaks a promise, try to keep things in perspective.

Remember, it’s just one incident. And it doesn’t necessarily reflect on your boss’s character.

However, if your boss is constantly breaking promises, that’s a different story.

In that case, you might want to reconsider your working relationship.

10. Talk to Your Boss’s Boss:

If you’ve tried everything and your boss is still breaking promises, take things to the next level.

You could talk to your boss’s boss. This is usually a last resort because it could make things awkward between you and your boss.


But, if you feel you have no other choice, it’s worth a shot. But do so only if the promise is significant to you.

And be sure to approach the situation professionally. For instance, you could say, “I realize you’re busy. But could you help me with something?”

Then explain the situation and why it’s important to you. Your boss’s boss might be able to help you resolve the issue.

11. Keep A Record:

Another thing you can do is keep a record of all the promises your boss has made to you.

If your boss breaks a promise, you can remind him of all the other times he’s done it.

This might make him more likely to keep his promises in the future. You can save a record by taking notes or by sending yourself emails.

Just be sure to date each entry so you can track the promises they made.

12. Find a New Job:

If your boss is constantly breaking promises, negatively affecting your career, start looking for a new job.

It’s not easy to leave a job. But sometimes, it’s the best thing you can do for your career.

If you’re unhappy with your current situation, then there’s no shame in looking for a new job.

You can use job-search sites like Indeed or LinkedIn to find open positions.

And you can reach out to your network to see if anyone knows of any openings.

Can Your Boss Legally Break a Promise?

It’s important to note that, in some cases, your boss might legally could break a promise.

For instance, if your boss makes a promise that’s not in the contract, he might not be legally obligated to keep it.

So, if you’re unsure whether your boss can legally break a promise, you should consult an attorney.

Or you can read the contract to see if the promise has been a part of it.

If Your Boss Breaks A Legal Promise:

If your boss breaks a legal promise, you might have grounds for a lawsuit.

But, before you take any legal action, you should consult an attorney. They can help you understand your legal options and whether or not you have a case.

There are some steps to take if your boss breaks a legal promise:

1. Talk to Your Boss: 

The first thing you should do is talk to your boss. Tell him you’re unhappy with the situation and see if he’s willing to make things right.


You can share the contract with him and explain why you think he’s in violation.

Your boss might not have realized that he was breaking a promise. But, if he does, then he might be willing to remedy the situation.

2. Send A Demand Letter: 

If your boss doesn’t want to make things right, you might need further action.

One option is to send a demand letter. A demand letter is a formal notice that states your intent to file a lawsuit.

It should include the relevant facts and law, as well as a deadline for the payment.

You can hire an attorney to help you draft the letter. Or you can use a demand letter template.

3. File a Lawsuit: 

You might need to file a lawsuit if your boss doesn’t respond to the demand letter.

You should consult an attorney before taking this step. They can help you understand the legal process and what to expect.

Filing a lawsuit is a serious matter. So, you should ensure a strong case before moving forward.

Final Word:

What to do when your boss breaks promises? If your boss breaks a promise, don’t get too upset. Instead, try to keep things in perspective.

You can discuss this with your boss to seek a resolution. And if all else fails, you can always look for a new job.

Last Updated on 10 hours by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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