You have a perfect job but a bad manager to deal with. It is kind of unfair how much is written about dealing and managing people and how little about dealing with bad and difficult managers. So let’s look into it today. Bosses and managers aren't from another world, though at times they seem to be. Conflict between a difficult manager and a subordinate can be very disturbing and counterproductive for the company.
Almost all of us at some point in our lives have to deal with a difficult manager. Difficult managers vary from being a little pushy, all the way to being abusive. Here are three different kind of bad managers.
3 Kinds of bad managers
Being a perfectionist is not bad thing as long it is not counterproductive. Some kind of perfectionist managers like to micromanage everything. That’s where it enters into “Bad” zone. Instead of empowering their subordinate, they start doing it themselves or they just never leave them alone. They get involved in every nitty gritty details of each and every project that it become annoying. It becomes really disturbing for creative people as the manager never give an opportunity to use their own brains. He think his way is the “only” right way.
Some managers are totally on the other end of the extreme. They are so distant from employees that they think their manager is ignoring them. They don’t even them necessary directions. They just dump everything on employees shoulders.
This is the worst kind. This kind of boss is a control freak and wants to control others with fear. He just starts screaming and yelling for little little things. He thinks less of others. People don’t respect him but only fear him. He way of getting work done his way is to scream so loud so employees either do what he wants or leave. No matter what there is no excuse for this kind of behavior.
Here are the 7 steps to handle bad managers and bosses
Step 1: Make sure it is not your fault
Do your work right. Cover your back. Don give any chance to your manager to mistreat you. Some managers will still mistreat because that’s how they are but try to make sure it is not because of your fault. Evaluate yourself and your performance continuously before going all out war against your manager. Remember they are in more pressure than you are to deliver. They can’t deliver if you don’t which will only increase their frustration against you. So always evaluate your performance.
Step 2: Stay Calm
When a difficult situation arises and your boss mistreats you, the first thing you need to remember is that never get yourself entangled with your boss in tit for tat arguments. Do not reply back. I am not saying you should give in to your boss but if you react with similar behavior then you weaken your case if not lose it. So remember to stay calm. You will have an upper hand as long as you don’t lose your temper. Even if it not your fault at all, just for that moment stay calm. Your reply can trigger another war of egos which most probably you will lose.
Step 3: Give them the benefit of doubt
If it was just one incident in many years and you know your manager is usually not like that. Give him/her the benefit of doubt. May be he was frustrated from his manager continuously pushing him to meet difficult deadline and you became the escape goat.
Step 4: Talk
After you are calm and you have thought about it and have evaluated your performance, go talk to him. Tell him your side of the story. Tell him how hard you worked on that project and what difficulties you faced. Tell him that you want to talk to him to figure out the way to go about it so we do not reach to this kind of embarrassing situation again. Tell him that you seek him guidance to perform up to his expectations. That will show him how committed you are and that you zeal for improvement. That will also show him that you were not pleased with his behavior. Go through your KRAs (Key responsibility Areas) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) with him. Let him define them for you or do it together so you are on the same page with him. He knows what to expect from you and you know what is expected from you. But if his behavior doesn’t change and he mistreats out of habit then you may want to consider the next three steps.
Step 5: reinforce
If it doesn’t stop then tell him that you do not appreciate his behavior. Tell him this kind of behavior kills mutual respect and it is also not ethical and professional. If he doesn’t like something he can professionally express it but disrespecting is not a solution.
Step 6: Plan B
If he still doesn’t stop disrespecting then it might be the time you should evaluate your plan B. You should always have a plan B. Like they say, hope for best but plan for worst. Always be ready for anything. Anything can happen at any time and you may find yourself looking for another job. So let’s everything is going so well and you love your job and company where you have been working for 6 years. All of a sudden due to reshuffle from top management, your immediate manager has changed. This new manager falls into one of the above category and you just cannot stand him/her anymore. Now if you have been working on plan B all along your career, switching to another job won’t be much of a hassle. Your plan B is keep your professional profile up to date and keep your professional contacts alive. You may need to invest in doing some sort of vocational training or certificate, do it. Keep your skills up to date. Keep on continuously improve yourself. Being a professional your skills set should not be stagnant. Remember stagnant water starts stinking. Keep it moving. Keep improving. 2nd you should throughout your career keep making professional bridges. You never know when you may need one of them. Keep making new professional contacts and keep in touch by sending them seasonal greetings.
Step 7: Last resort
After having evaluated your alternative plan, you should talk to top management about your manager’s bad behavior with you. If he acts the same with everyone, then request them to intervene and have a word with him without naming you. But if it is particularly with you alone then request them to mediate. Remember, as a result he may retaliate and try to hurt your career and reputation in other ways and you may have to say good bye to him, which is fine as you already have plan B. But if you do not have a plan B at all and you don’t want to risk your job right now, then wait until you can quit comfortably. Once you have that confidence that you can find another job easily, you will automatically have the confidence to fight for your right.
It is very unfortunate that at times you get bad managers which are unbearable. And at times whether you have a plan B or not doesn’t matters anymore because nothing is more valuable than one’s dignity. Those are the times when you just have to leave the dust behind and move on. So when you reach at such point, then just quit your job. Sometimes that is the best and the “only” solution. But don’t jump to this conclusion so fast. Remember to follow the steps.