We’ve all heard the saying, “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” But, sometimes when you’re so used to how things are or when everyone else around you seems to have similar experiences, it can be hard to tell if you’re truly in a bad situation or if this is just the way things are done.
First things first, you’re not crazy (or stupid) and you’re not being unreasonable. If you have a gut feeling that you have a bad boss, you’re most likely not wrong. But, to further validate your thoughts, here are 13 signs you’re dealing with a toxic, insecure or very frustrating manager.
1. Your manager doesn’t let you do your job – It’s been months, maybe even years into your role, and you’ve barely done 30% of the things your manager hired you to do. When you try to do more, you get the run-around or your requests get put on the back-burner.
2. Your ideas are constantly turned down – Your manager isn’t interested in making improvements or trying new things. Your boss would much rather maintain the status quo. They don’t value your opinion or care that processes may be outdated or ineffective.
3. Your manager never offers constructive feedback – You’re interested in learning and becoming better at what you do, but trying to get feedback from your manager is like pulling teeth.
4. Your manager never notices or acknowledges your accomplishments – Everyone else sees you as a top performer in your office, but somehow your boss doesn’t. Worse, whenever you do get compliments from others, your manager may belittle the compliment or take credit for your ideas.
5. Your manager only focuses on the numbers, not the people – They’re more focused on revenue goals than if you’re reaching your own career goals. Metrics are more important than the human doing the work. Requesting time off is always an issue and your manager would much rather prefer if your personal life was non-existent.
6. You’re expected to be perfect, with zero room for error – You’re always afraid to make a mistake and fear getting in trouble if you do so. Even if expectations may be unclear, any type of failure gives your manager the impression that you’re incompetent, which isn’t true.
7. Your manager has to approve of every single thing you do – All of your projects, client correspondence, and work must be signed off by your manager before you can move forward. Everything has to go through your manager before you can continue your duties.
8. You’re constantly left out – Your manager seems to always leave you out of important meetings that impact your ability to do your job well, yet still expects you to do your job well. When asked to be a part of bigger projects and initiatives, you’re constantly asked to sit on the bench.
9. Your boss doesn’t take your job seriously – Your manager doesn’t think your role is valuable or doesn’t care about what you do. You feel like you’re constantly having to prove the significance of your work, even though you were hired to do what you’re currently doing.
10. Your manager is rude – Your manager constantly says things that leave you stunned. They make condescending or outright disrespectful remarks. Or, worse, they wait to email you passive-aggressive remarks, disguised as feedback, while seeming kind in-person. They diminish your value or make you feel small.
11. Your manager criticizes or talks negatively about other people in front of you – They always seem to find fault in other people’s work or behavior and never shy away from stating their concerns in front of you. They even look to you to chime in and agree with them.
12. You’re asked to do things outside of your moral character – While the requests may seem small, they make you uncomfortable and fall outside of your integrity. Maybe it’s lying on a report, or lying to clients and vendors. But, whatever it is, the feeling leaves a knot in your stomach.
13. You’re expected to figure things out on your own – Your manager never has time for questions. You rarely even see or speak to your manager, except when they need something. Whenever you do ask questions, your manager looks annoyed or frustrated.
So what do you do?
Depending on your specific situation, it might be helpful to take inventory and evaluate if there’s still room to learn and grow at your company despite your manager’s behavior. If there are other benefits to gain from staying at your company, then don’t let your boss cut your time short. People only have as much power over you as you permit them to have, and unless your manager is impacting your job security or career growth, then you may be able to overlook their nonsense.
On the other hand, if your manager is impeding your growth, peace of mind or job security, then it’s time to start your job search right away. There are so many other amazing companies, with amazing managers who love mentoring and supporting others. You don’t have to settle for anything less.
As a bonus, you may find that as you start your job search, your relationship with your manager will become the least of your worries. Your manager may even start to notice that you’re on the way out because of your new demeanor and may change their behavior because of it. Don’t let that stop you from leaving. The sooner you get serious about your job search, the sooner you can have a better manager who supports you, respects you and challenges you to become the best you can be in your career.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.
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