If dealing with a bad manager every day is destroying your enthusiasm and driving you to look for a new job, you aren't alone. In a BambooHR survey of 1,000 workers, 44 percent admitted they left a job to escape a difficult boss. With so many bad managers on the loose, it's easy to encounter the same problems at different companies. Instead of bailing, try these strategies to manage common personality types.
1. Meddlesome Managers
Micromanagers usually have a deep fear of failure and blame. Since they don't trust others to solve problems and produce great work, these bad managers try to control everything you do. Not only is it demoralizing to have an inspector hanging around to correct your every move, but it stops you from growing into higher roles.
Try to work through the frustration by empathizing with bad managers. People who are new to leadership roles often become perfectionists because they don't feel confident about taking responsibility for a team. Pay attention to details that matter to your boss and provide more frequent updates to keep him in the loop. Since micromanagers tend to have a lot of unspoken expectations, show up prepared with questions and checklists to clarify assignments and schedules. Demonstrate your reliability, so micromanagers feel comfortable focusing on their core duties.
2. Narcissistic Managers
Narcissists put themselves first, demanding your loyalty and praise while undermining your efforts when it benefits them. Toxic behavior, such as bullying, passing blame and taking credit for others' work, eventually creates an environment of fear and distrust. Making inroads with narcissists is a challenge, as they reject criticism and feed on admiration.
To break the cycle, stand your ground against this type of difficult boss and set boundaries. Maintain a calm demeanor as you explain which behaviors are unacceptable to you, and avoid getting pulled into arguments. Keep personal information to yourself, and communicate through emails and other documented channels whenever possible to protect your job. If you ever need to consult HR or defend your actions, thorough records make it easier to back up your claims.
3. Negligent Managers
Neglectful bosses test your patience because they seem to avoid accountability and leave the team with no direction. Whenever you need insight or approval, this type of boss gives vague feedback or forces you to make judgement calls on your own. Bad managers may even justify a hands-off approach by claiming they trust you or don't have time to do your job for you.
If you don't want to be blamed for every mistake, take communication into your own hands. Similar to dealing with a micromanager, you should prepare questions and key items for review. Organizing quick meetings with teammates is helpful, as it provides witnesses who can all confirm what you discussed. Follow up with emails outlining the decisions and checkpoints you agreed on, making it harder for a bad manager to deny everything later.
Learning to get along with people you don't like is an invaluable skill, and it makes you feel empowered in tough situations. If you love your job, do your best to salvage your relationship with a bad manager. Senior managers may notice how hard you work to strengthen the team and keep you in mind when the next leadership position opens up.
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