There are a lot of less-than-perfect bosses out there, for various reasons. One of the most common causes is lack of experience. A new boss has something to prove and has to deal with a lot at the same time. Balancing your time and support between your higher up boss and your team is indeed a challenge and can become quite daunting for the new manager. Sadly, some managers never learn this skill and focus all of their efforts on advancing their own position further at the detriment of their team. They want to prove to their bosses that they are valuable and smarter than the individuals on their team, which they are constantly worried about losing their new and higher position to. This insecurity puts a strain on the team and often causes the new manager to constantly degrade the work of his or her own team. These bosses will put all of their efforts into finding something wrong with your work, no matter what. If you create a presentation with perfect wording and data, they will tell you the fonts are too small (or too large, or the wrong color, …). They will also try to control your time as a way of watching your every move. They’ll schedule a meeting with you and then force you to reschedule at the last minute, or they’ll show up 10 minutes late. They’ll send you an assignment on Friday at 4:30PM that takes you at least 2 hours to finish so they can assure you don’t leave early. The most neurotic will send you questions or demands on the weekend to see if you are logging in and working. They may copy their own boss on these emails to show how dedicated they are vs. you. Sadly, some new bosses never learn to become more secure and drop these manipulative tactics and go on finding new ways to control their teams to the point of micromanagement.
Unfortunately, I have had my share of these types of bosses. They have helped make cubicle hell what it is today. But, luckily I have had a few good ones, too. I don’t call them bosses--since they aren’t really bossy—I call them mangers, since they manage to keep their team happy and are successful and secure in their own positions. They take the time to ask how your family’s doing and encourage you to take a break from time to time. Good managers direct their team on activities but don’t take complete control. They know that a happy and effective team will only add to their position as a good leader and so they give their team opportunities to grow and to take credit for their own work, realizing that their own viewpoint is not always the best. These managers are true role models and I recommend you seek them out in a company and stick with them if you can. Show them you appreciate their help and remind yourself how lucky you are to have found one of these unique individuals. Remember them on Boss’ (‘good managers’) Day, which is October 16, and give them your gratitude year ‘round. They are few and far between and will help make you successful and happy in your career.
Some Interesting Links:
- National Boss Day
- Blue Mountain Boss Day eCards
- About National Boss Day & Gifts for your best manager http://www.almorale.com/calbd.html
- Cookies for your favorite manager
- The Mark of a Good Manager (Washington Post)
- The top 10 things that make a good manager
- How to be a Good Manager