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How to Manage a Bad Manager

This post is sponsored by Biscuit Recruitment, a boutique recruitment agency in London specialising in placing PA, EA and office support staff. 

The saying goes that people leave managers, not jobs. When you have a bad manager it can make every second at work a nightmare. Whether your manager is ineffectual, unfriendly or just plain incompetent, we have come up with a few coping techniques to help you make your working day just that little bit more pleasant.

The Micromanager

This bad boss has his say on EVERYTHING you do; how, when, where and why you do it too. The best way of dealing with a micromanager is to ‘out micro manage’ them until they learn to trust that you have everything under control. Create a diary or to do list that accounts for every little detail of a planned project and watch them relax a little.

The Pushes-Too-Hard Boss

Your project will take you three days of solid work, but the PTHB wants it in two. You know the type, always wanting to eke out every last drop of productivity from you. Use facts and data to ease this boss off your case. Acknowledge their faith in you, but then ask for their input into how to prioritise things in your diary to meet your objective. Highlighting everything else you need to do may be a wake up call that stops them asking you to fit 40 hours of work into 24 hours.

The Best-Buddy Boss

Usually, this person has been promoted from your team and hates the thought of being disliked by their old work chums. They avoid managing under-performers or addressing issues such as lateness and missed deadlines, making your job that much harder. Be tactful in asking for specific feedback on your work, even asking them to find out what other people think of your performance. Highlight that the underperformance of one individual is having a negative effect on everyone else, meaning your manager’s friendliness is perceived as anything but. That should shock them into action.

The Insecure Boss

This boss is always seeking to blow out other people’s flames to make their own burn brighter. Put downs, snide remarks, broadcasting any mistakes you make are the modus operandi here. Be direct with this boss. Highlight that they seem to be unhappy with your work and ask what you can do to meet (realistic) expectations. This way, you have given them an opportunity to fix things. If they carry on being unkind, hot foot it to HR and report the meanie.

The Boring Boss

You know the type. It doesn’t matter what they are talking about, a few seconds in they have bored you to tears and you want to gnaw your own arm off in frustration. Their meetings are interminable and you end up switching off when they speak, meaning you miss important things in the process. Although there is a reason work is called work and not play, this boss can really effect morale. To minimise the impact, go into meetings or discussions with very specific questions (yes/no) ones if possible, to reduce the chances of being on the receiving end of a deadly dull lecture. Don’t be afraid to interrupt either – “I’d love to hear about X but I have to get this action completed by Y,” makes you sound both polite AND focused on your work.

The Never-There Boss

This boss has their phone set to voicemail, never responds to emails and always misses your meetings. It means you can never get anything done as nothing is ever signed off. If they do this because they are busy, gather everything you need feedback on and present it with a tick box cover note all in one fell swoop. Make it easier for them to give you what little time they have. Alternatively, if they are just too disorganised to get things done, organise a (quick) debriefing to tell them exactly what you want from them. Your needs may have got lost in the chaos they work in.

These tips can have a positive impact on your working life. Don’t let those bad bosses get you down. Use our tips to manage your manager!

About the author: Frances Li is the owner of Biscuit Recruitment. Looking for a new career? Search for PA jobs in London at Biscuit Recruitment and find your perfect role today. Image: Shutterstock

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