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How to Thrive with a Bad Manager

Posted by Lauren DiChiacchio on Nov 21, 2013 10:25:00 AM

management help, staffing services, job seekers

Can’t stand your job because of your bad manager?  Ineffective managers exist in every organization.  The worst managers to deal with fail to trust, don’t respect, and intimidate employees.

Managers that do not know how to properly manage are not motivating and can often lead their direct reports to feel less energetic about their work and the company as a whole.  Employees that find themselves in this situation often take more time off and are anxious and stressed when they are at work.  When you spend most of your awake time at work you want to like the people you work with and for.

Faced with a bad manager, many employees retreat to commiserating with co-workers or adopt a passive “it is what it is” attitude.  But what if you decided to reframe your mindset and find a way to thrive in your situation?  You may be better served if you focus on how to make your work life a place where you can still succeed despite this obstacle.

Are You Leaving?  Make the Decision

You have a decision to make – are you going to jump ship or work through it?  If you decide that you want to jump ship, there is little chance of turning around a bad environment.  If you ultimately decide that you like your job enough to stick it out, then you can begin the task of becoming a positive change agent because you have decide to commit yourself to the company and your position.  Once you make this decision, you can start making positive changes.

Generate Positive Results on Your Own

So you are staying, now what?  Part of what makes having a poor manager difficult is that employees believe that nothing is going to get done.  A way to counterbalance those thoughts is to demonstrate through whatever power you have that you can accomplish something and move your department forward. If you can demonstrate that despite obstacles, good decisions can get made, that you should fight for better policies or you finally persuade leadership to accept a new idea, that will send a strong message throughout the organization and may even help change some of your own feelings about your workplace.

Build a Relationship With Your Manager

Bad managers come in all shapes and sizes, micromanagers, incompetent, screamers or just plain eccentric. Unless your manager's behavior is toxic on a daily basis, you need to find a way to have some type of relationship. And, any relationship needs to have some foundation of trust.

This may not be easy at first, however, sitting down with your manager and finding out what their goals and values are, how they process information and make decisions may make it easier for you to understand your manager.  You should try to set up weekly meetings so that you can inform them of your accomplishments, project updates, and ask any questions that you may have.

If you want to ever get out from under this bad manager, you need to have a relationship whereby they trust you enough to give you the autonomy to do more and with enough time to get promoted or to at least begin to enjoy your job more.

Take Baby Steps

If you've managed to build a relationship that gives you some independence, start small. Maybe the visionary project you have for turning around the training department will have to wait. But what about trying to add some new courses to the department or finding an online training program to supplement in house training? You want to try to set goals that are important to you and for which you have some control to get them done. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and it doesn't require your manager's attention.

Dealing with a bad manager can be one of the most nerve-wracking events of your career.  However, you can learn from the experience by being proactive, creative and probably a little humble to find the right balance.

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Topics: Career Advice, Management & Leadership

Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.