How to Manage a POOR LEADER
In your time in the workplace, I am sure you have experienced many challenging situations! Changes in the business, changes in bosses and very poor bosses. How did you handle the poor leader situation? Did you leave, or learn from the opportunity and grow as a leader yourself? Sometimes easier said than done! Creating change is about being firm in your convictions, taking a stand and designing your leadership journey for success. Take charge now in line with your ambitions and do the right thing by you!
“Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.” – Warren Bennis
There ARE Gaps in Management and Leadership
The SAL Report “Do Australian Leaders Have what it takes” shows that Australian organisations should be concerned about the state of leadership and management capability and the differences between the two. In Section 6.0 Leadership and management Fundamentals, the key findings are:
- Australian leader, on the whole, have not mastered the fundamentals of management, though there is some variation in management practices by industry, workplace size, organisational legal status, and workplace age
- There are several particularly troubling deficiencies among Australian workplaces, with regards to the adoption of specific fundamental management practices
- Management practices scores positively and significantly relate to a number of organisational performance outcomes and employee perceptions
- Good management practices contribute to several of these outcomes above and beyond leadership perceptions
People don’t leave JOBS, they leave MANAGERS
In Forbes 2014, Dr Margie Warrell highlighted “How to Handle a Bad Boss: 7 Strategies for ‘Managing Up.” If you’ve got a lousy boss right now you have my sympathy. Truly. It can really siphon the enjoyment from what might otherwise be a rewarding role, leave you feeling undervalued, and wondering whether you should begin searching for something new. But before you start planning an exit strategy, it would be wise to rethink how you can better manage the boss you already have –for all their flaws and shortcomings.
Having worked with numerous not-so-inspiring bosses in my corporate career, I’ve learned they provide invaluable opportunities for developing executive leadership skills and learning ‘what not to do’ when managing people who work for you. You just have to be proactive in looking for them and ready to practice some real self-leadership. However fixed in their ways your boss may be, you can always learn ways to better manage him or her. The secret is to “manage up” without them ever realizing you are doing it. So rather than think of your boss as your boss, think of them as a difficult client – one you have to figure out how to work with if you want to get ahead, even if you’d rather not. Hopefully the strategies below will help you on your way:
- Know their ‘Why’: Identify prime motivations
- Support their success: Work around their weaknesses
- Take the high road: Your “Personal Brand” is riding on it
- Speak up: Give your boss a chance to respond
- Know their preferences: Adapt to them
- Don’t be intimidated by a bully: Stand tall, never cower!
- Be Proactive: Do your research before jumping ship
If you are moving to a new organization, do your research to make sure you’re not jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Sometimes in our desperation to escape a toxic work environment we fail to take notice of the warning signs that the new job we’re taking will only be worse. Have a coffee with whoever you know at the new company to get a sense of the culture, employee engagement, moral, and management style. Investing a few hours up front could spare you a few years of frustration.
In September 2020 a Drew Bird Enterprises Project article shows “7 tips on how to deal with a toxic boss.” When I tell people what I do for a living, they often respond, “My boss needs your help – they are a complete psycho.” In reality, that’s probably not true: Psychopathy in the general population is around 1 in 100. But if you are working for someone who behaves in a bullying, combative, or otherwise toxic way, the impact on you can be devastating. So what can you do about it? Here are some suggestions that can help you cope with a bad boss:
- Make the decision to stay or go
- Do the work: Don’t be a target
- Don’t get drawn in
- Don’t gossip
- Keep detailed records
- Don’t derail your career
- Remember, it’s not forever
For many toxic leaders, the lure of more power, prestige, and control means that they move positions frequently, so you may not need to deal with the toxicity for long. The problem is these types of dysfunctional leaders are often very adept at projecting a successful image upwards in the organization. The can be well-versed in political manoeuvring, glossing over or blaming others for past mistakes, and manipulating people’s emotions. I hope you never have to work for a manager like this, but if you do, hopefully these steps will help.
TURN the TIDE
Many of us have seen poor leadership in action as shown in my 2019 blog. Those bosses that drive away your colleagues and new hires in droves, possibly even forcing you to quit as well. When leadership in a company is poor, millions of dollars are lost each year due to the way it affects customer satisfaction, staff retention and productivity. When only 30% of your employees are actively trying to do a good job, there’s a problem. We’ve gathered some statistics to show you just how much poor leadership really costs:
- Between 9-32% of staff, turnover could be avoided with better leadership
- Poor leadership can cost the typical company up to 7% of their total annual revenue
- Improved leadership can eliminate the 5-10% drag in productivity that many organisations are operating with
- 25% of staff quit because they don’t feel empowered by their leader
- In a company of 250 that has 25% of its staff leave each year, with an average turnover cost of $5500 per staff member, this equals an annual turnover cost of $343,750!
- These figures are the dollars lost in staff turnover due to poor leadership: Entry level – 30-50% of salary. Mid-level – 150% of salary. High level – 400% of salary
When poor leadership is ignored, every aspect of a company suffers. You’re not getting the best from your employees, many of whom are actively trying to ‘get back’ at their leaders through reduced performance. Investing in your leaders means your staff will start becoming more invested in their work, and in the company as a whole. Companies can’t afford to pay the high prices of bad leadership, so it’s time to be proactive and start facing the problem head-on – can you and your staff continue to pay the price, both monetary and emotionally? Don’t drive away your best employees (and customers) with bad leadership.
YOUR CHANCE: become an ‘OUTSTANDING LEADER’
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Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.