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October 22, 2020

Handling Difficult Managers

Many of us work in stressful environments, but work is made easier when we have a great manager. Some of us, however, face stress from our manager! Let’s face it—some people are promoted into managerial roles without the training needed to do the job effectively. If you work for a manager that seems difficult, here is some information to help you stay motivated and positively productive.

  • Is it situational? Even the best managers can become difficult when the stresses of the job become too much. If your manager is difficult sometimes, analyze what’s going on that could be contributing to it and take steps to help mitigate the situation. Maybe you could demonstrate leadership by offering to take some tasks off your manager’s desk. 
  • Are you and your manager from different generations? This is a big reason for conflict. Baby Boomers (born 1943/46-1960) are process oriented. They expect employees to work in the office and invest long hours to achieve results. On the other hand, Generation X (born 1960-1980) and Millennials (born 1980 – 2000) are easier going about where and how long they work as long as they produce results.
  • Is your manager a micromanager? Sometimes a manager micromanages when he or she is new to the job, or you are new to the team. This can be a lack of trust. Some experts recommend staying ahead of a micromanager and providing information and status reports before they are requested. 
  • Is it just you or is your manager difficult with everyone? If the behavior seems focused on you, try to discover why this is happening. You may need a conversation with a trusted friend, mentor, or human resources. If your manager is a challenge for everyone, it might be time for a team meeting with your manager or his/her manager.

Before you take any action about a difficult manager, make sure you are seeing the situation accurately. Be objective and ask yourself if you are contributing to the situation in any way. Check my blog post The Value of Reframing

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