Mag logo.png

Posted on 3rd september 2018 by Natasha Moore

Jobs put alot of pressure on us in general, they are, at the end of the day, our source for financial income. Keeping a roof our heads and food on our table. And so with this it can feel like we allow ourselves to tolerate less favourable situations in the workplace than what we would really be happy putting up with. With none more common than having to deal with a bad manager. An employment  survey conducted by Glassdoor found that 20% of the 2,000 employees taking part resigned as a result of negative management experiences. No one should have to feel like their job is putting them in such a miserable place that they have to resign but I completely understand why they may choose this option unfortunately. Below are steps I would recommend when it's getting a bit much:

What is a 'bad manager'

Image credit: Giphy

Image credit: Giphy

The first point I would like to make is that being a manager is about much more than being able to delegate tasks to people and getting your own work done. To manager people I feel you must first and foremost be a people person.

So the first type of bad manager in my opinion is:

1) Not a people person

If your manager ever raises their voice or hand to you then this type of conduct should in no way be tolerated.  Everyone can have a bad day but aggressive behaviour should never happen between staff members. A person who is cold, aggressive and/or impatient should not hold a managerial position in my opinion or make drastic changes within themselves in order to hold this role of responsibility.

Example situation you may find yourself in:

If your manager likes to be authoritarian they may try to outsmart you on a daily basis. Perhaps they like to question every step you take - why did you not capitalize the name in the email? Why did you not highlight this in yellow instead of orange? Why do you think I'm asking you to do this? We all know the difference between someone being generally curious to know why we did something a certain way and someone who is just trying to irritate you so they feel more powerful than you. In this situation it is tough because although you may want to stand up for yourself you may find yourself in a crowded office and anyone listening in may pick up the conversation you are having with your manager at the wrong time and assume you are being mouthy and so reflecting incorrectly and badly on you. You never want to argue back infront of other colleagues this is not a good approach.

What your rights are and how to help yourself (relieves stress):

My manager use to bring me into rooms to shout at me so I know the struggle of tolerating this on a daily basis. My advice would be to show as much patience as you can to their behaviour when in the open office. I would definitely speak to HR or if this doesn't exist in your company, a colleague who you are close to, to confide in. No one has the right to belittle you especially in the work place where you spend so much of your day. Perhaps if it does get too much sometimes take a break from the office and go outside for 5 minutes, to the toilets or make yourself a cup of tea. Just anything to get some space from the individual.

If you do speak to HR for example and the reaction is that nothing can be done I would seriously weigh up the pros and cons of working in a company which hosts this kind of manager. And perhaps you are better off looking at alternative companies to work for. Some people have issues with superiority but you are not there to take being put down because of their issues.

**It must be noted that should your boss’s intimidation put your personal health (physical or psychological) in danger, leaving you with no choice but to resign, you may be able to claim constructive dismissal.

2) Not a team player

We all want to succeed in life, but there's one thing seeking independent success and another thing conning the system or stepping on others to get ahead. If you're manager comes in super late and leaves super early with no real care in the world then I think that should be addressed. Additionally if they are keen to pile on the work for you significantly but ease the load on themselves then this should be flagged. I know that some managers do have different working schedules and delegate work in various ways to team members, but   let's face it, we're all smart enough to realise when someone is trying to cheat the system and not pull their weight regardless of their status.

Example situation you may find yourself in:

Your manager demands you be in for 9am sharp, you must email him as soon as you enter the building. If even a minute late he marks this on record. Meanwhile he swans in at 10.47am, starts making himself a coffee before chatting up the receptionist for 15 mins. You work solidly all morning when suddenly you feel a hand on your shoulder, is it the grim reaper? No, it's worse, it's the grim manager. 'I told you to have this done for me by 12.30pm, what is the hold up? You look at the task he sent through by email 5 minutes ago and realise that you haven't' even had the training on how to use the system for it yet. These kinds of situations are the norm for you in the office. Your manager demands too much in too little time. And it's not like you aren't working your hardest, you've always worked hard, they just haven't worked smart. He piles up the work on you to ease it on himself.

What your rights are and how to help yourself (relieves stress)

You can try reasoning with them, ask for a 1 to 1 with them and explain that you feel the workload is too heavy and that you can't be your most productive when you feel bombarded and weighed down. Perhaps bring a plan of action to the meeting, maybe rank the tasks in order of importance and level of difficulty and potentially the two of you could agree on a new timetable or better way of communicating to see that the work gets done in a way that best suits you  both. It may just be a timetable or the manager checking in with you not at the last minute before the deadline but a week before maybe. Key takeaway - scheduling and communicating more frequently. If however you know that the manager is infact just generally lazy then perhaps you could discuss this openly with other team members and see if you could arrange to discuss this with your manager in a non-confrontational progressive way. Maybe they genuinely never realised they were acting in a certain way, it may not have been their intention to come across as 'lazy'  and instead they just needed honesty to see this.

3) They don't listen to your needs

Respect is one of the most valued things we can give each other as humans, because we live in such a hierarchal society, this key element which directly correlates with contentment in the workplace can be all too forgotten about. Not always is it the manager not showing respect to a member of their team but you can see that there is a higher likelihood of this being the case.

Example situation you may find yourself in:

It's not like you want to recite to them your deepest darkest secrets from your teenage diary but then again couldn't they be a little more sensitive to your need of being taken seriously by all the male colleagues in a board meeting or perhaps when on a team lunch, they may not blatantly book a meat-only restaurant despite the fact you told them numerous times already you are vegetarian. As important as it is to respect your manager, equally so is the need for the manager to respect you. To work with others is much more of a social acceptance of each other than your simple ability to plug numbers into a database, of course this is important but ultimately we are humans, we need social interaction, reassurance and support from one another. If your manager does not give you these then there is an issue on their part and your working environment is unfairly miserable..  

What your rights are and how to help yourself (relieves stress)

The Harvard Business review has reported that the best mechanism to use when you feel disrespected in the workplace is to take on the mental state as if you were 'thriving'. You will in return feel energized and have a greater adept for learning. This is shown as far down as on a physiological scale. But how exactly can you work on yourself? Answer - by focussing on a specific areas of your job you would like to grow in. Studies have shown that the feeling created within when you are progressing tops even that of pay and recognition. Perhaps focus on developing a new skill, work with a mentor - seeking positive relationships is shown to boost morale and productivity in the workplace. This makes sense as you want to be around people that raise you up not bring you down. If you keep your focus in these things, on progressing, and less on your manager then you can really start to turn your working environment around by placing the power in your hands.

I know with alot of points we read online they can seem easy to digest in theory but difficult to put into practice. But your enjoyment and safety in a job should be worth the discomfort and effort needed to change things around for yourself.  Just because they are your boss does not give them the right to be bossy.


Written by Natasha Moore

hearandseek blog / hearandseek instagram

We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts below, tweet us at @eric_festival or instagram us at @ericfestival!