Would You Leave Your Job Because Of a Bad Boss?
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
I will be the first to admit that I have left a job simply because I did not get along with my direct manager. Finding oneself in such a position can be extremely frustrating and can frequently lead to debilitating career paralysis. Imagine a scenario where the person who should be coaching and mentoring you to greater career success is, effectively, doing the opposite. And it often feels as if there is no escape other than simply looking for a new job. After all, nothing seems to be more career-limiting than complaining about your boss. So, what options do you have? And what can an organization do to reduce talent loss at the hands of bad managers?
According to a recent Monster survey, 27% of Canadians would vote their boss out of their role if they could. This is a staggering number and clearly shows that many Canadian companies are simply not listening to their employees. While many companies offer feedback mechanisms during performance reviews, they are often not a central focus or are not taken seriously. Throughout my career, I have been asked to evaluate my boss' performance many times. However, on each occasion, this evaluation was performed by my boss! How is this going to produce any real, honest feedback? A great way to solicit honest feedback is to perform regular employee surveys to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening throughout an organization. Asking managers to solicit feedback from their staff members is not the way to improve working conditions.
I have been managing employees for many years yet that is the one area of my career for which I have never received any formal training. And I am not alone; in fact, the overwhelming majority of managers have no formal management training whatsoever. It's ironic: even the good bosses have had no training on how to be a good boss. Being promoted to management is often a product of competence, seniority or plain circumstance. So, it is no wonder that 27% of us are not happy with our supervisors. Being a good manager does not involve simply being good at the technical aspects of the job; it involves a great deal of invaluable soft skills that many people greatly underestimate.
Outmanage your manager?
According to another recent global Monster survey, 84% of Americans and 87% of Indians feel as if they could out-perform their manager. Again, this is a shockingly high number that suggests that a very large percentage of employees around the world are not satisfied with the work of their superiors. So, what do you do if you don't feel as if your manager is fulfilling his/her role? The majority of us are likely to remain quiet and simply accept that having a bad boss is part of being employed. Truth is, though, there are better options out there.
How to respond
I am aware of how upsetting it can be to suffer in silence so I am strongly advocating against anyone sitting on their hands and falling into deeper career despair. Being proactive is always the best way forward. To wit:
- Solicit advice. Before taking any major steps towards resolving your issue, try and discuss your concerns with a trusted co-worker who is familiar with your work life. Often, having another perspective can help determine if the problem is truly worth escalating.
- Speak up. It may sound like career suicide but approaching your boss with your concerns is something I would encourage. Would you approach your spouse or a friend if they were doing something that upset you? Your work life should be no different. In many cases, your boss may have no idea at all that they are causing you any discomfort at all.
- Escalate. If you feel that discussions with your boss are not going anywhere, it may be worth escalating the issue to your HR department if you feel that your tenure with the organization is at risk. Before you decide to make a big move (such as resigning), it may be worth your time to see if HR can do anything to help.
If you feel as if there is simply no other recourse, you can always entertain the idea of resigning. In a time of increased job promiscuity, there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing what else may be out there for you. Sometimes, a situation cannot be fixed and you are indeed best served by moving on.