I’ve worked for the crazies. There was the assistant dean who didn’t have a clue what I was working on and a company president who didn’t believe in voicemail or email. And don’t forget the boss who falsified expense reports using my name.
Yes, there are bad managers, and then there are bad managers who belong in a special class all their own. Managers have a great opportunity to lead and be positive role models to others. However, too many do not take their role or their responsibility seriously.
Today, Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! identifies and tells us how to deal with these three types of managers.
The Rock Collector: This manager has no idea what he is really looking for. But that will not slow him down. Instead of moving forward with purpose, his direction seems to change course each day. He sends you chasing after a goal that was never defined, and thus impossible to achieve. If you have a rock collector for a manager, you will rarely please him and your self-confidence can waver over time.
I call him a rock collector because no matter what you bring back, it is never the right rock. It’s too smooth, or shiny or even too large. How can you avoid the scavenger hunt each day? Try to pin him down on specific, measurable goals that you can achieve to mark your progress. Ask him to clearly define what he wants you to accomplish.
The Double-Speaker: This manager is well-versed in the art of duplicity and manipulation, always looking out for No. 1. Depending on who she is talking to, she will share whatever she thinks the other person wants to hear. She is so used to double-talk that she does not even realize she is doing it
If you have this type of manager, you may have to dig deep to find the truth and compare notes with others to determine which story is most accurate. My suggestion: learn her body language, which will betray her dishonesty. And take careful notes whenever she gives you a direction. When she flip-flops, you have the evidence and can kindly point out that she is flipping around like a fish out of water.
The Life-Styler: This manager is joie de vivre personified, and his careless attitude towards life extends to work. While he does not want anything to come between him and his fun, he seems blissfully unaware of everyone else’s hard work on his behalf. If you have something important to discuss, you have to catch this life-styler in between long lunches and hours spent on the links.
Someone needs to be the adult, so it might as well be you. Step up, and be equally cheerful but firm. Explain that you need answers, and that the work cannot be accomplished until you have them. Your boss will hopefully realize his laziness is costing the organization and will start behaving more responsibly. Your co-workers will be silently celebrating your courage as well.
These managers are not necessarily bad people. They have simply picked up bad habits or never learned how to lead well. So how can you deal with these personalities? Be transparent in what you say and what you do, and continue to focus on delivering quality work.
Source: Brian de Haaf is the founder or early employee of six cloud-based software companies and is CEO of Aha!, a software company.