If you could rate your managers right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, how high would they rate?
- Your group is underperforming. Sooner or later, bad management will trickle down and affect the entire organization. Whatever the appropriate metrics are for an organization, poor performance can usually be traced back to a management problem.
- Your manager is turning up the heat. When a good senior manager thinks there may be a problem with a subordinate manager, he’ll inevitably turn up the heat and see what happens.
- Allies begin to distance themselves. It’s one thing for your enemies to talk behind your back, but when your work friends and allies start to back away, that’s an indication that the manager is "damaged" goods.
One of the most visible signs of a poor manager is poor decision making.
Decisions are actions, actions generate results, and results are highly visible. Pay attention to this very closely.
- See if their personal relationships are in the toilet. Dysfunctional managers also tend to be dysfunctional people. Relationships are relationships, period. And while I’m sure that some bad bosses are wonderful spouses and friends, this is not generally the case.
- If employees are miserable, you need to look at the managers. No matter how much they may not admit it, managers know if their employees are miserable.
So, how what can we do if we find ourselves in the position of dealing with a problem manager?
- Become self-reliant.
Part of the problem with bad managers is that they don’t do much to set you up to succeed.
One solution to this is to take on more responsibility for your success. You may need to define for your manager exactly what you need to be successful. This could be ownership of certain kinds of decisions, more resources, or just the room to succeed or fail on your own.
Once you’ve defined exactly what you need, prioritized it, and translated it into terms your manager might understand, it’s your job to bring these requirements to them. “Here’s what I need to be successful with my responsibilities here. How can you help me be successful?.” You can then discuss with your manager, on your own terms, what you need from them.