In my last article, I discussed how organizations can keep bad management from negatively impacting their bottom line. But what about the employee and manager involved? Keep reading!

Just because two individuals may not be getting along does not mean that one should just jump ship. Think about your career. Do you like the company and what you are doing? Is this bad manager (or your bad management style) the only thing that’s stopping you? Then don’t give up. Follow these tips to beat the bad.

What you can do as an employee:

Practice Patience & Positivity

Although you may not be getting along with your supervisor, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is because of bad management. Think about the overall situation from all views:

Business Woman

  • Are you or your supervisor new to the company?
  • Were they in a different type of department? i.e. Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, etc.
  • Are you or your supervisor going through any personal changes right now?
  • Are you being demanding?
  • Is your boss’ boss being demanding?
  • Is your company going through any difficult changes?

All of these factors can have an impact on your relationship with your boss. If your supervisor is new to your department, they need time to adjust to your learning style and find out more about what motivates you. Are you new to the department? Coming from  IT to Sales can be a bit of culture shock. You may not be used to the high demands and fast-paced atmosphere.

Maybe both of you have worked together for a while. Are there any company changes going on that have added pressure to your department?

It is important for you, as the employee, to assess yourself, your actions and the situation before you start throwing “Bad Management” around. Just remember to keep an open and positive mind.

Communicate Clearly

One of the most important things you can do is speak to your manager about how you are feeling. Most bad managers don’t know they are even bad! There have been so many times when friends of mine have come to me looking for advice about their supervisor. “Well, what did your boss say when you told him that?” “Oh, please! I’m not going to tell him how I feel.” You can’t expect your supervisor to read your mind, and you can’t run away from your problems either. Don’t leave the company without attempting to resolve the issue at least once.

Although it may be difficult to do, speaking to your supervisor about how you are feeling will:

  • Actually notify your supervisor of the situation.
  • Move toward a solution.
  • Demonstrate your leadership and maturity to your supervisor.
  • Inform your supervisor that you care about the position and your relationship.

Make notes on what you’d like to say and keep it constructive. Lead with “I” statements rather than “You.” “I feel that…” or “Sometimes, I get the impression…” You statements may make your boss feel attacked. And remember, they are still your boss.

Don’t Gossip!

TOO much communication can be a bad thing. Do not gossip or tell other co-workers about your problems with your supervisor. It is very tempting to speak to your co-workers about how you are feeling since they work with you and can understand your frustration. Unfortunately, it is more trouble than it’s worth. Office politics are nothing to get involved in, and talking about others is like being elected as the Mayor of Gossipville. Speak to the people who need to know: your supervisor, Human Resources, etc. but don’t divulge too much to your co-workers.

Provide Feedback

If you decide to leave the company for any reason, your company may ask if you have any feedback for them. You can be honest here; just keep it constructive and informative. Do not bring up situations that you don’t clearly remember or that involve other employees. Also, leave out situations that were resolved with your supervisor. Try to keep your emotions to a minimum. You may feel hurt and under-appreciated, but you have to remember: this may be the first time that this person is hearing about your issues.

What you can do as a manager:

Assess Yourself

The signs are not always going to be evident. Here are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself:

  • Have you ever received negative feedback from employees?
  • If yes, did you see a pattern in any of the feedback?
  • Have you had conflicts with previous or current employees?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about something you may have said or done to an employee?
  • Have you felt that you haven’t had a great relationship with your employees?
  • Do you feel that your employees may talk about you behind your back?
  • Have you ever felt that you have been misunderstood in your role as manager?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you may want to review your managerial style and possibly gain some feedback from your staff. The first step to improving your time at work is capitalizing on your strengths and improving on your weaknesses.

Get Control of Your Management Style

There are many assessments out there that can help you understand your managerial style and its effects on others. One profile that I would recommend is Everything DiSC Management. The assessment is designed to provide constructive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses and instruct you on how to adapt your style to staff members of other DiSC styles. Have you ever heard of the DiSC theory? Well, Everything DiSC Management utilizes this theory to specifically explain how to better develop your managerial skills. Bad management is something that can be both prevented and fixed. By better understanding yourself you can learn to better understand others. Don’t just take the assessment, but really review the results and ask for others’ feedback. You may like the way you manage, but you have to remember that all of your employees are different people.

Even if you feel you are an excellent manager, it always helps to better understand how your style affects others.  Perhaps you and your team work really well together. One addition next year can throw you a curve ball, and you may need to adjust your management style.  Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses can help you better communicate with others, which will certainly benefit your career in the long run.

Keep an Open Mind

Since I advised the employees to talk to you about their concerns, I’m asking you nicely to be open to hearing them. It takes a lot of courage to discuss delicate issues with your boss, so take notice and let them know you appreciate the feedback. Are you going to agree with everything they say? Of course not. Try to keep an open mind and keep your emotions to a minimum. Your first reaction may be to then discuss how the employee is doing, but keep those discussions to a second meeting. End this meeting by thanking them for their opinions and appreciating the fact that they care enough to talk to you about how they are feeling. You don’t have to be a pushover, but you should respect how they feel. If you feel they are speaking out of line, you can say so as their manager.

Ask for Help

Ask your HR or Training & Development department for the opportunity to take some online courses. Training resources are not just for Managers-In-Training or staff looking for a promotion. Treat yourself to short, online courses that focus on your management skills. These courses typically range from 30 minutes to a few hours and may even come with an assessment to take along with it. Not only will this help you advance in your career, but it will show the employee (and your employer) that you are taking steps to improve your skills.

Anyone can learn how to be a better manager. Each staff member is different with different priorities, work preferences and requests. If you can better understand how your personality and style affects others, you can learn to better adjust your management style for them, as well.

Do you have any suggestions for companies, employees and/or managers? Leave a comment, and let us know!