One of the things I discuss with my colleagues more often is whether or not we can chose our managers. Because the more we discuss about this the more we find out there’s not an unique answer; but this is a huge risk to take.
On one side we all agree that a manager supporting you is THE key to have a good career. On the other we are debating if we can do something to choose whom to work with.
And reason is not only for career, but also because as you deal with good managers, you may land also to work with bad one and this is a problem to solve quickly to avoid getting wounded from the battle.
First of all I believe that many managers are simply not ready to do their job, so they are unskilled, not “bad”. This make a subtle difference because an unskilled manager can change if it is not too late, a bad one will not change. So rule number one is simply: understood that is bad, try to find alternatives, don’t try to change or compromise. A bad boss will make not only a difficult working life but, depending on the extensiveness of contact, will make life miserable.
I am really ashamed when I see my colleagues acting as bad bosses: people are the biggest asset that we as managers have been given and is a pity to see how sometimes we are not taking care of it.
So what to do, apart from trying to escape?
- Understand where the differences are: your approaches may be different and going to a direct clash will not bring any benefit to you
- Understand “your enemy”: take your time to understand where are the weak spots and what are the things pleasing the manager. Will not make you feel better but will help you in finding a “survival manual” while you try to escape
- Check what you are doing critically: is simply the manager demanding more or is you giving less. This is critical because sometimes is natural to duck out from a situation lowering performance only because we don’t like at first the one asking for it. At the end the only thing that will always be a shield for you is your performance so don’t lower it.
- Stand at your place: avoidance tactics do not bring any result. Continue to look for interactions and not disappearing. Will be tougher but will give you self-confidence.
- Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager; by Harper Perennial (buy on Amazon)
- Bad Manager (management, office management, business management, employees, managing, job stress, management skills) (Buy on Amazon)
- A Survival Guide for Working With Bad Bosses: Dealing With Bullies, Idiots, Back-stabbers, And Other Managers from Hell; by AMACOM (buy on Amazon)
(Image by Pierre Amerlynck)