How To Handle Bad Management

What do I do if my management isn't giving me what I need?

This is a common question asked by younger employees who have yet to successfully navigate the workplace culture of politics. Good leaders are the exception and not the standard. Studies show that as a society in and out of the workplace we are regularly drawn to bad leaders due to our inability to differentiate arrogance from strength. Bad leaders also tend to be effective and give companies and countries the results they need, but the damage they do along the way to the overall morale of the country or company tends to have larger implications in the long run. The first thing to remember is that you are not guaranteed to have "good management", nor is it your manager's job to provide mentorship or care about your career path. Once you release that sense of entitlement, you can then realize that good management and good leadership is the exception, not the standard. It will also help you to take charge of your situation as opposed to playing the victim. You have not because you ask not. The first thing: communicate. Sometimes we expect people to do things for us without actually asking for them. Be sure to include what result their help would generate for you and the company. As an example, let's say you aren't getting the support you need from your supervisor. They cancel your one-on-one meetings, make promises that they don't keep, and expect work that is outside of your skillset. The worst thing to assume is that they are aware of how you are currently feeling. Consider this: if they want the work done, why would they purposefully put you in a position that could backfire on them? As a manager, I can tell you that they wouldn't.

Communicate exactly what you are lacking in objective terms. "I'm having trouble completing the data analysis and need more direction from you. Is it possible I can get additional training or mentorship for this project?" To be sure they do not forget, send them an email recap of your meeting every time. It is always better to have these kinds of discussions in writing in the rare case you are dealing with a malicious boss. Until things change you do what it takes to get your job done. No matter what you are responsible for getting your job done. If you have to manage up to do that, do it. If you have to get a mentor in another department, do it. If you have to spend nights watching Youtube videos and reading books on the subject at hand, DO IT. Be the person who doesn't need to be lead to greatness. Be great in spite of your circumstances. In an ideal world, every manager and leader is perfect, and if they are not don't frustrate yourself with what you can't change. You need to find a way. Not only will it be a testament to your flexibility to work with anyone, but it will be the moment you prove to yourself that your talent got you this far and can take you a lot further. Hang in there and make it work. No matter what.

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