My husband has been looking to move on in his career lately, this has got me thinking about the people that I have worked for over the years. I’ve thought a lot about what makes some managers great and others so rotten. Until the day I die I will remember at least two people from my career. The best boss I’ve ever had and the worst!
For most, management is often just the next step on the ladder. However, the skills required to get a career going are very different to the ones that you need to be a great leader. The transition is not an easy one and it can create great uncertainty, self-doubt and ultimately fear. When fear takes over, behaviour can become entirely different. Remember, fear is one of the most powerful of all human emotions.
Fear often leads to panic about being “found out” as someone who is in too deep. Once that happens, your manager will spend lots of energy ensuring that he/she does not look weak to his/her boss or peers. Instead of enabling you to reach your highest potential, a manager who is gripped with fear will be nervous that you may expose him/her.
If you have lived through this before, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The one sign that your boss fears you: he/she asks you to send everything to them first! When your manager wants to stand in the way of you getting work done and building work relationships, it’s a frustrating challenge. However, rather than become demotivated, you should remember these three things when dealing with managers like this:
The most successful professionals have taught themselves to master their emotions during times of stress. Since your own boss is unable to do so, it’s up to you to show him/her how it’s done. Cooler heads prevail when it comes to dealing with a fearful manager.
Don’t take micromanagement personally. Chances are that if your boss acts this way, he/she fears more than just you. Don’t gossip, but seek a trusted mentor internally who can help you keep your own head up and continue to be your best. Ask for advice, and be willing to see where you can improve your own actions.
Trust me, there will come a day when you are not subjected to a fearful leader. Take a moment and remind yourself that you are in your current role for a reason. Think about it deeply and learn from it. This will help you anticipate your manager’s reactions, alleviate his worries, and not make others feel the same misery if you become a leader.
Your employees have endured fearful bosses too; they can be some of your best teachers if you study what motivates them. After 15+ years working for others, I’ve had my share of fearful leaders; it’s taught me what I won’t tolerate. I’ve also managed to glean a few lessons from them along the way….. They have influenced the person I have become, and I am thankful for that.
Do you agree? What type of people have you worked for?
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