Ever wondered why so many people leave their jobs, despite working for a big brand, earning a handsome salary and developing their career profile? The answers may surprise you.
28-year-old Mira Thomas was a star performer, always punctual, working hard to meet her targets and going out of her way to help her colleagues. Despite all her hard work, dedication and high standards, her supervisor left no stone unturned in making her life miserable. He would blame her for anything that would go wrong, try to steal her ideas, and decline to acknowledge her efforts. Fed up of his attitude and toxic behavior, Mira decided to resign and look for another job. To her next interviewer she explained, “I did not leave the company. I left the manager.”
Like Mira, there are millions who are driven by frustration or contempt for their managers to leave their job. In fact, a Gallup poll of more than one million American workers concluded that the top reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor.
Why do managers matter so much?
Your manager has a huge impact on your experience at work. While a good manager can maintain a pleasant environment, a horrible boss can create unnecessary stress and indulge in office politics, undermining the performance of the team.
Watch: Bad managers at work
A manager, as noted in this article from Lighthouse, decides what projects you work on, who you work with, and when/if you get promoted. A good boss is like a friend, a mentor, and also the person most likely to help you when you have a problem.
A positive manager, as described by Andy Grove, the former co-founder and CEO of Intel, in his book High Output Management, has control over his team’s performance. Calling middle managers micro CEOs, he stresses they have the power to enhance their own, as well as their team’s productivity and morale.
While good managers can boost the morale of the team, a bad one can demotivate the team members, impacting negatively on performance.
Types of bad managers
While a good manager always stands by his team’s side and protects them from top management, a bad manager is the opposite: always playing it safe to protect their position and job, and never standing up for their team in the face of unfair policies. Lacking in integrity, they believe in following orders decreed by top management, and are not respected among their subordinates.
Watch: How to spot a Toxic Boss
Mr. Superiority complex
Arrogant, overconfident and intimidating, these bosses are more preoccupied with throwing their weight around than their team’s wellbeing. They will constantly reiterate that they are the boss, and make your life miserable if you question them, or their policies. Sometimes they are rightly nicknamed Hitler.
The Iron fist
They just want the work at any and every cost. They believe in micromanagement and will keep an eye on your every move. Their constant questioning and drilling suffocates subordinates, killing their creativity and enthusiasm to work. A Medium report found that, under such a boss, employees will work exactly as the boss prefers whether or not it’s reasonable or practical.
The Invisible boss
They are the type who are seldom seen. They say they care about teamwork and growth, but are rarely there to guide or motivate their team. Neither do they give any direction or feedback to help you perform better. Their absence can be frustrating and detrimental to development.
This type has narcissistic characteristics, and believe that the organization revolves around them. They will make their decisions without any feedback or consultation. They usually believe they are the best and ignore other options and perspectives, irrespective of their merit.
Emphasizing the negative impact a bad manager can have on both the physical and emotional health of an employee, the Medium report states that bad managers instill fear and make work unpleasant. By setting unreasonable targets, unfair policies, issuing constant threats and presenting an unsympathetic demeanor, bad managers can cause severe stress and hypertension among employees.
Watch: Why great people quit jobs
Having identified the various bad boss archetypes, let’s examine the particular ways in which such bosses create negativity and compel employees to leave:
Unhealthy practices by bad bosses:
Watch: How bosses demoralize employees
- Lack of competencies: They can be a misfit both in terms of performance as well as culture.
- Stealing credit: They are the first ones to take credit for success and will never share it with the team.
- Blame game: They are the first ones to point fingers and hold others accountable for their inadequacies.
- Preventing career growth: A Forbes report points out that bad bosses will never provide promotional opportunities for their subordinates. They are self-centered and don’t consider the career paths or goals of their employees.
- Bully or belittle employees: They will bully you for no reason and create a hostile environment for their own benefit.
- Partiality: They will go out of their way to favor their pets over those who actually deserve advancement.
How to deal with a bad boss:
Step 1: Figure out his work practices, and how you can adapt to them
Mary Abbajay, president of Careerstone Group, states in a NBC report that the first step is to study your boss, his behavior, workplace personality, his likes and dislikes. Try to judge if he likes emails over talking in person, whether he prefers afternoon meetings to mornings, etc. Once you understand his way of working, judge how much you can adapt to it and become more aligned to how he operates.
Step 2: Talk to your manager:
The next step is to try and talk to your manager and see what’s going on. Go and speak to him when he is in a good mood and try to explain your point of view. Request what you want and assure him that you have his and the organization’s best interests at heart.
Watch: How to deal with a toxic boss
Step 3: Talk to HR
If you feel that all your pleas have fallen on deaf ears, and it is becoming rather difficult to work under a particular boss, try to have a discussion with HR. Let them know about the issues you’re having, and your efforts to rectify the situation. There is a chance they might have helped other employees stuck in a similar situation, and they might be able to offer solutions.
Sep 4: Walk out
If you’ve exhausted all efforts, and your only solution remains to bear a bad boss, you have the option to leave.
A leader is someone who supports you, motivates you and helps you grow. If he fails to do his duty, places obstacles in your path and oversees an unpleasant work environment, then it’s time to get a better boss.
Before You Go
Quiz: What type of a boss would you be?