The Best Ways to Deal with Ineffective Managers and Keep Your Job

Sometimes it always seems like a rainy Monday when it comes to going to work. It is even worse when you work for ineffective managers who can make your work life miserable. You and your co-workers feel frustrated, burned out, or irritated. Productivity goes down. Complaining goes up. Consequently, the overall feeling in the department is negative.

Two professionals discussing over a laptop in a focused office setting.

Here are seven habits of ineffective managers you might find familiar:

  1. Continually breaks promises. Keeping promises builds trust. If employees don’t trust their manager, they won’t work productively, and resentment builds instead.
  2. Chastises employees publicly. It’s a power thing for many ineffective managers. It can be they don’t have the ability to reflect on how to solve a problem, so the blame game is the quickest answer for an ineffective manager. Employees feel alienated and resentful, for themselves and for their co-workers when it happens to them.
  3. Intrudes in employees’ personal business. Being interested in employees’ personal lives is a good trait. However, being overly invasive intrudes on privacy, causes discomfort, and can even considered “creepy.”
  4. Withholds positive feedback. Ineffective managers believe they only need to deal with problems, not tell people when they are doing a good job. Lack of appreciation is one of the main reasons employees leave their jobs.
  5. Being a know-it-all. Whether it is not asking an employee with more knowledge in a particular area to handle a question, or not allowing employees autonomy with information and decision-making, these managers will micromanage every detail, resulting in lower productivity and a lack of job ownership by employees.
  6. Speaks before listening. The belief is employees are there to listen and work, not ask questions or offer ideas. Work stalls as employees become frustrated when their manager does not want to hear about problems.
  7. Being afraid to discipline. Nobody likes this part of the job, but an ineffective manager lets a problem go until it becomes disruptive and angers everyone.

If you are nodding your head right now after reading these habits, you might also be thinking, “So what can I do about it?” If quitting your job is not an option, there are ways you can deal with the problems and find some peace of mind with the situation.

  • As frustrated and angry as you might feel, the first step is to decide which issues are most harmful to your productivity or motivation. Identify them specifically, such as lack of clerical support, or unfair selection for training. It’s better if you are able to recruit your co-workers to support you with their own concerns. Remember, there is strength in numbers.
  • Keep calm, professional, and make an appointment to talk to the boss about these concerns. Be polite and focus specifically on what you need. Don’t forget to show how what you want will be beneficial to not only the department, but to the manager as well. Helping managers reach their goals can open the door to more cooperation.
  • Find workable solutions to the problems you encounter working for this manager. Connect the manager’s shortcomings, such as not managing clerical staff efficiently, to something the manager views as important and reflects on performance. If the clerical staff refuses to complete work that impacts the bottom line and reflects poorly on the manager, suggest ways this can be corrected so the numbers will go up.
  • Find another manager who can be your mentor. Tell your current manager you want to learn more about a certain area and bring a richer knowledge base to your current position.

There’s no easy solution to dealing with an ineffective manager. Think of this as the chance to “manage up” by employing strategies you might use with a difficult client. Know your manager’s motivations, goals, and preferences and work around them.

Sometimes a “bad” boss enjoys the power to bully, scream, name call, intimidate and be cruel. This could be the result of a company culture that empowers this behavior, or how the person has operated in the past with no restraints. When it gets to this point, sometimes the only thing to do is find a position with a boss who will help you grow and advance your career. You deserve nothing less than that.

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join 80,000+ Fellow HR Professionals. Get expert recruiting and training tips straight
to your inbox, and become a better HR manager.

Select which topics to subscribe to: