Welcome to part two of real career talk month! Last week we looked at the importance of having mentors and this week I will be discussing my experience of having a bad manager.
Starting out my career from university, I had been very fortunate to have had great bosses. They encouraged me, inspired me, pushed me to think outside the box and become better. They acknowledged my improvements and rewarded me for my hard work. I was having a great time enjoying work. I looked forward to going in the next day and challenging myself to see what more I could do, to continue impressing my manager out of respect for them.
That was until 6 months ago. When I was moved away from my rosy days of fist bumping my bosses into the cold awkward atmosphere I am enduring with my current boss. I am now at a stage where I cannot stand the woman! I dread having to go into work each day and even the thought of talking to her sends shivers down my spine.
Let’s rewind to the beginning of my dreamy world turned into a nightmare. I am a very easy person to manage, I get on with my job and will always go above and beyond where I can, to do well for the business and challenge my abilities. But my new boss (let’s give her a name – evil b****. Okay okay, not appropriate, how about…Cruella) has no idea of how to lead or influence her team, to unlock the potential that lies within each of her direct reports.
Cruella is a classic example of being upwardly mobile only, which I had never previously witnessed to this extent. She swarms over management, constantly emitting her chatter and charm to try to prove she is the next big thing. With only eyes for the big guys, she will completely ignore her team until she needs something from them. Each morning when walking into the office, there is no response to the daily “hello” (unless of course it is a higher manager!). And at the end of the day, there is no “good evening, thanks for your efforts”.
To begin with, I thought she was aiming her hostility towards me alone and even my new team didn’t talk to me much. I had never had difficulty getting on with colleagues before, so could it really just be something about me? Slowly but surely over time, my colleagues opened up to me. And then I learned she was screwing us all over. Cruella was not communicating or providing guidance to anyone, she was only interested in introducing change to leave her mark on the department, but worst of all she did not care for the people working for her.
I found it very difficult to adjust to this kind of behaviour. I was not raised to ignore others or make them feel as though they have no worth. I have recently become more aware on the effect it has been having on my wellbeing. I am a very relaxed, happy-go-lucky character and do not let setbacks thwart me. But this is a whole different experience. I have headaches when I am work, I feel tense when she is around, I panic at the sight of an email from her that it may be written to embarrass me. I do not look forward to going into work, I feel demotivated and I speak minimally when she around in fear of her nit-picking at my banter.
So I am now in a situation where I do not enjoy going to work. I have approached HR and Cruella’s manager, but to no avail. My unhappiness has filtered into my personal life where I feel as though I am incapable, because of the actions of this one woman. But I am tough and I will not let her defeat me. Here is what I have learnt over the past 6 months to take with me in the future and to share with those who may also be going through this unpleasant experience…
- I am grateful I have experienced Cruella’s management style. I can hand on heart say I will never treat anyone I manage like this. I care about people’s wellbeing and will show it to them, because everyone deserves that much at least.
- I will not flatter and cosy up to higher management whilst at the same time disregarding my team, all for the sake of moving up the food chain. This kind of behaviour has left a nasty reputation on the people Cruella has alienated and that kind of status spreads through the grapevine.
- As a demotivated employee I have found it difficult to offer my full abilities to the role, as it is not worth me over performing if it is not recognised or appreciated.
- Probably most importantly, it is vital to be careful who within the organisation these thoughts are shared with. Early on, I was too open with who I spoke to about how I was feeling, in the innocent assumption that it would not go any further. But with time word got into the rumour mill about my discontent, which now makes me wonder (and worry) if it ever got back to Cruella.
- Camaraderie in the team is what has got me through this. When she is not around we have a good time but when she is there, I know it is not just me who is feeling disheartened. Not that it will ever make it right.
The solution to this situation? Well, sheer willpower to keep stepping through the door of the corporate world every morning. And the rationale that Cruella will soon be looking to advance through the ranks, so with time she will move departments. It is not easy, but everything is an experience for a reason.
Have you ever had a horrible boss? What did you do to cope?