Working with a difficult boss

Competent bosses are a rare variety. If you are working with a difficult boss, then you have to learn to cope with your situation.

I’m fed up! Is this what comes to your mind every time you think of office? Does your job leave you lethargic de-motivated, drained, unhappy and frustrated because of a bad boss? Dealing with a poor manager is a challenge faced by many professionals across industries so you are not the only victim. Don’t sympathize with your self, there are ways to deal with things.

Let’s start the list of complaints with a visibly upset P, working with an FMCG firm. He says his boss can’t even draft an e-mail by himself. Very often he and his colleagues do it for him and he conveniently copy-pastes the text and sends it through his e-mail account (on one occasion even a spelling mistake was a part of the mail he sent). This shows clearly, that he doesn’t even care to read the matter.

An associate manager say AM in an IT firm, fumes. He is perpetually doing the disappearing act. AM has to struggle to get in touch with him if suggestions / advice is needed. His gadgets, be it laptop or mobile phone, crash as per his convenience. Due to his absence if AM takes a call his ego is hurt; further to coddle his ego, he will list down 1001 mistakes in the decision of AM or his colleagues.

While some employees complain about having to deal with control freaks, others are struggling with a lack of professionalism punctuality and corporate discipline. Another executive complains the boss refuses to acknowledge their efforts and there is no respect for them as professionals. The boss takes his team for granted and often requests them to help him with his personal work.

Bad managers are part of every organization. While some lack knowledge of the product, others are plain lazy and try to push their responsibilities to their juniors – usually in the pretext of giving them exposure. A bad manager could be a tyrant, a discriminating jerk, sexist, racist, a plain dumb person, or someone who smartly eludes work every time. A manager who is misleading or lies to his team about the company’s targets and turnover just to build false hopes can also be categorized under this head.

It is a common problem. The main reason being the fact that companies have young managers, who lack relevant experience. Today, people are offered managerial positions based on their academics. So they lack knowledge about ground work. For dealing with this you have to first find out whether your manager knows that the team is unhappy. Managers do things in a certain way as they think it is apt. Unless it is communicated to them what the team thinks otherwise, they never know. But telling your boss directly that s/he is detrimental will backfire. This is where the 360 degree evaluation helps. But as many companies don’t have this practice, employers have to use tact.

Speaking up doesn’t always help as some managers are not willing to change. Making a collective effort as a team can be your next move. For instance, if all efforts to make your manager realize his short comings are in vain, how about communicating the problem to the management as a team? But this should be your last resort.

Meanwhile, you could look out for other openings outside your company. But remember, a movement does not necessarily assure you of a good boss.

One common mistake employees make is to assume that their job is the end of the world, and if they are not happy with it, they are doomed. They all tend to forget that it’s after all just a job. If not for this one, there are many opportunities available (of course, barring the recession). It’s only about being optimistic, exploring and finding the new path. So you either love it or simply leave it.