Leadership can make or break a business. A fancy logo and catchphrase, well-thought product, and stellar team won’t matter if the top management lack direction, empathy, and common sense. According to a survey done by Randstad US, 60% of their respondents actively considered quitting or have left their jobs due to an unreasonable direct supervisor. On the other hand, 58% said they would still stay even with lower salaries if they can work under a great boss. That goes to show how critical to employee turnover and motivation is in having a good leader at the forefront.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the financial freedom to jump ship and look for better and greener islands. People have monthly installments of mortgages and student loans to contend with. Others prioritize the happiness and well-being of their family, whether it means paying for their little sister’s piano lessons or investing in a retirement home for their retired parents.
No matter their reasons for staying despite less ideal situations, employees can use techniques to deal with the unbearable characteristics of their bosses. That is a practice called managing up. If faced with problems, they are flexible enough to adjust their working styles and take the extra step to better suit the approach of their managers.
Here are three types of bad bosses and ways employees can manage up:
The Credit Grabber
Imagine drinking boatloads of coffee and spending sleepless nights to work on the project you’re passionate about. Then the next morning, your boss preens all over the office, especially to the board of directors, and talks about how much effort he expended. He believes that your success is his, while the recognition he gets is his alone. The credit grabber is one of the worst bosses to have because it means they have coasted through the career ladder on other people’s achievements.
Confrontations won’t work because they will only brush you off. Instead, try to communicate your contribution to the team and top management often—document conversations and accomplishments for reference, especially during performance evaluations.
Working with a perfectionist can take its toll on an employee’s morale. The patronizing tone, criticism on one’s every move, and need for constant updates can drive anyone up the wall. A boss who micromanages treats their direct reports like children who need constant supervision. What’s worse is when that nitty-gritty leadership disappears when the team is thrust into a problematic situation.
While it’s tempting to whine about your frustration, the key to getting her to back off is through understanding why she’s acting that way. Is she feeling pressured about the team’s goals, or is she trying to make up for her lack of knowledge? You can work on earning her trust by giving her unsolicited progress reports and being open to questions she might have.
Don’t celebrate early if your boss is a no-show. While it’s freeing at first, the lack of direction and management will take its toll on the team. You’ll be left to fend for yourselves when issues arise, and the top management is breathing on your neck. The lack of feedback and mentorship will also hinder any career advancement and growth.
That is the time to take the initiative and showcase your leadership skills. Find out who is the supervisor of your boss reports and ask if the team can approach her for any questions and approval. Being resourceful and straightforward will earn you good graces.
Bosses are as human as their employees. They are not exempted from flaws and failures, which can manifest annoying habits and behaviors. The key is to understand where they’re coming from, communicate often, and be proactive.