No matter how good a company’s products or skilled its employees, if it has leadership problems, then the whole company has problems.
Issues with managers can range from the downright dangerous and illegal all the way to annoying bad habits that drive employees crazy.
If your manager is an otherwise competent leader, but exhibits bad habits, here’s some examples and how to address them without rocking the boat:
Interrupting and Being a Know-it-All?
Does your manager constantly interrupt you and steer the conversation towards their own knowledge base without really listening to what you have to say?
Solution: You can gently redirect the conversation back to what you were talking about without being rude. “That’s great. To return to the earlier point I was making…”
Forgetting Something You Told Them Previously
It’s likely that your manager processes a lot of information daily, including information from his/her boss, a hundred documents and phone calls and so on. Don’t expect them to remember something you told them a week ago.
Solution: A good practice is to email a recap of a conversation you had and put an action point in it. Studies show that people remember information they’ve read better than just hearing it, and both reading and hearing something means that remembering it later is much more likely. You can also refer back to it later, by date: “I sent you an email about this on February 16th referencing this project and my proposal. I’d be happy to forward it to you for reference.”
Losing their Temper and Not Following Up
Your manager lost their temper in a meeting and chastised a couple of employees. Everyone’s walking on eggshells now and your whole team is affected. Unfortunately, now that he or she released their anger, your manager has forgotten all about it.
Solution: Gently remind your manager about the incident and suggest that they go by the desks of the most affected employees and acknowledge his or her behavior and apologize. It will do wonders for team unity and for employees’ respect of the manager, too.
Not Respecting Work/Life Boundaries
Do you have a manager who consistently asks you to work late or on the weekends? Does this manager make it worse by asking you these “favors” as a “friend?” Does he put a project on your desk on Friday afternoon when he could have brought it to you earlier in the week?
Solution: Remember, a true friend wouldn’t consistently ask you to exhaust yourself, affecting your relationships and ruining your mental and physical health. Evaluate the situation, then be gentle but firm: “I really need to recharge on the weekend in order to be the best employee for this company that I can be. I have to respectfully say that I can’t work through the weekend on this project. I will start on it first thing Monday morning.”