Employees want to love their jobs, but management often gets in the way. Bad policies and abrasive personalities often transform a pleasant work experience into a nightmare. But how do you handle management when they have power over your job? The answer isn’t always simple, but every employee has the power to change their situation if they understand all their options.
Know your priorities.
Some employees stay with a business too long because they have low standards, but no one needs to make that mistake. Instead, create guidelines your employer must meet to keep you as a team member. Once they fail, move on.
Just make sure you leave on good terms with your coworkers, if possible. Having a strong network of business contacts might help you in the future, and you never know when a fractured relationship could sabotage your career. By looking for opportunities to improve as an employee, you will have the power and freedom to choose your job; few people want a career that depends on the whims of incompetent bosses.
Many people hate their jobs but can’t escape because they don’t have enough personal or financial resources. Don’t let this happen to you. Always look for new opportunities, even if you love your job and think you’ll keep it.
Businesses are always looking for valuable employees; view every day as an opportunity to improve your skills, business contacts, and financial resources. You should even consider living beneath your means. Knowing that you will be okay even if you lose your job is a great stress reliever, and the world is full of possibilities you can’t predict; just prepare for as many as you can.
Learn the warning signs.
Recognizing toxic policies and personalities is hard, especially before your first day of work. Look for any behavior that seems strange; your gut instinct is usually right. If you see a manager barking over the shoulder of an employee, or if your interviewer doesn’t praise the company during the hiring process, you should strongly consider looking for work elsewhere.
If you are getting the job via a contact, ask them about the job. How are the managers? Does every policy make sense? Do your managers favor customers over employees? Once you hear their answers, you will have a mental picture of what the business is actually like, and can compare it to your standards.
Also, feel free to ask questions during the hiring process about management and policy. Look for honest, confident answers. If they hesitate or hastily change the subject, look for other signs of incompetence.
Learn how to cope.
Many employees can’t switch employers instantly. Instead, they must learn how to deal with toxic management until they can find a better job. First, do what your bosses say. Standing up to them might cause more conflict and drama. But what if you receive contradictory instructions?
When this happens to you, obey your direct boss. If this causes management to criticize you or another employee, calmly point out that you are just trying to obey your superior. Remember, you can always look for help higher up the command chain. Most companies won’t fire anyone for following directions from a superior unless it results in a crime or is an obvious and severe mistake.
Micromanagement is another common problem employees face. It takes place when a manager is overly critical and doesn’t allow employees to do their own work. Usually, they focus on making sure everyone follows procedures accurately instead of doing their job. Since they are constantly offering unhelpful corrections, they waste a lot of company time.
Even worse, micromanagers believe they are working hard and don’t handle criticism well, especially if it comes from a subordinate. Not only are they annoying, but they could even cost you your job if upper management blames you for their mistakes.
But how do you handle a micromanager? First, tell them that they are preventing you from completing your work. If they don’t listen, complain to their boss. Unfortunately, this could backfire if they don’t accept your criticism or feel that your actions are disrespectful. This is why you should always try to work your problems out with micromanagers privately before taking further action.
Sometimes putting up with a micromanager’s destructive behavior is your best choice. You will receive less criticism if you stay productive in spite of their influence, and you should always look for ways to do your job better.
Coworkers are a great resource, especially if they know your job and its unique quirks well. Your micromanagers might even have helpful insights to share if you ask the right questions. If you are still receiving criticism, you can always to try to avoid meddlesome managers by learning their work hours and habits.
Businesses shouldn’t tolerate gossip, no matter its source. Sadly, many do, and even let it fester within their management team. But how do you handle a boss that is talking behind your back or sharing secrets and rumors you don’t want to hear?
First, stay professional. Let them know that you don’t care and just want to work. Also, don’t fuel their gossip by giving away any personal information, whether it belongs to you or a coworker. If you are still having trouble, use a distraction; they can’t talk to you if you are already sharing a conversation with someone else or listening to your favorite music.
While painful, some employees choose to handle gossip by not getting invested in any of their coworkers’ lives. Only focusing on their job means not hearing or starting rumors about the people they work with and is a great way to earn their respect. After all, it takes self-control to withstand social pressure, and gossip never stays hidden forever. You can even consider reporting gossip to management, though you won’t get much help if your bosses are gossips, too.
Sometimes management gets stuck with a bad policy they can’t fix. This is usually the result of decisions made by people who don’t know the unique challenges of each job. This is common in large businesses with complicated command structures. Even though victims of bad policy often feel powerless, they can improve their job experience if they follow the advice below.
Finding allies is the first step. An ineffective policy is hard to miss, and your coworkers will likely share your frustrations. By working together with others who feel the same way, you can find workarounds which can include: disguising behavior, ignoring policy infractions, and exploiting loopholes.
Most companies publicly welcome criticism, but many are too arrogant to accept it and act appropriately. Unless you find enough critical voices, they won’t change. Few employees have the resources to generate a strong enough reaction, but you can coordinate with coworkers and customers to strengthen your appeals. Just remember that taking any step, especially a large one, risks your job. Employers have right to fire whoever they want, for any reason.
It also makes sense to voice criticism calmly and respectfully. Even though bad policy hurts people, that is no reason to sabotage your efforts with an insensitive comment or emotional outburst. Always remember that coworkers, even bad ones, are people too. Try to view their motivations generously, even if you disagree with their decisions. If this is impossible, don’t stay. Dealing with their selfish and toxic personalities isn’t worth it!
No one should tolerate toxic management, and you don’t have to!