Managers who are mainly focused on their own interests are often bad for organisations. However, their false strategies are not easy to see through. Because they talk nice to their managers, and belittle their employees and blame their own failure on others, all employees see through their true intentions. But because there is a hierarchical relationship, it is difficult to do something about it. It does not work with having integrity alone. In the interest of your organisation, your team members and you, however, you can do something.
You become an effective opponent of a bad manager (BM) when you have specific basic qualities. I am going to mention four tips on how to get rid of bad managers.
1. Control your primary instincts
In order to be in any way successful, you really have to get rid of your immediate reactions. Being direct and throwing everything out in the open honestly is like showing all of your cards when playing poker. Why is this the case? Because your BM plays a strategic game. And he plays chess relentlessly, because he has a very good motivation to be completely ruthless: his status. This is what you have to bear in mind and try to understand. In doing so, it will greatly help you, when you can control yourself, think carefully before you say and do something. Only then you do have a chance.
2. Process-based thinking
Many employees are people-oriented. In the workplace, the relationship with your colleagues is important. Sharing with your colleague, social feeling, that kind of thing is important for employees, so probably also for those who have to deal with a BM.
But the BM does not think people-oriented. He looks at processes, productivity, cost savings and absenteeism. If you are sick, he will call you. And however social he sounds, he has only one goal. You have to work because your salary is part of the budget. And he does not accept you not being present. Because it is an obstacle on his way to achieve a good result, and to his career path because that interests him even more than a good result.
What you do not have to do is to be people-oriented with the BM. You have to learn how to think in processes. If he does something, what purpose does he really have in mind. Discovering that is the beginning of your victory. Only when you have a good understanding of his purpose you will be able to determine a strategy. Until that time you play, a bit secretly, as if nothing is amiss. That may seem not entirely correct, but it is pure self-protection.
The importance of networks will meanwhile have become clear. What is especially necessary is that you interact well with the people who are important for the career of the BM. They should not just like you, but more importantly should find you very nice. They need to have the idea that you support the organisation, that it is you who wants to help realise policy goals in practice, that you want to do your work as well as possible and understand that you can not do it alone.
You are efficiently working and working as ateam. You go for that and you radiate that. The managers who are important for the career of your BM will praise you, and they will do the same with him. And when the BM begins gossipping about you, they will take your side. Not really understanding or taking note of networks is digging your own grave.
4. Strategic and political thinking
You can compare a BM who is out off his depth better to a chess game than with boxing. You have to think ahead. And you have to think about a few things.
– Who is the decision maker? The decision-maker is the boss most of the time. Or sometimes an emissary from the boss. I can not say it simpler. You must always have a good relationship with the decision-maker.
– How is the position of other people involved? Are they going along with the decision-maker, or not so well. And more importantly, who has the most influence at the decision maker? You have to know that, and it is possible to find out.
If your BM is well with his boss, but he in turn is not good with his boss, then you have to be with the boss of his boss. How you achieve it is a different story. But one thing works to your advantage: in the top one likes to have a good relationship with the employees.
– What is your own position? Are you good with the decision maker and his main influencer? And if that is not the case, what can you change in that? If your reputation is not so good, you are already 1-0 behind in the fight against your BM. Your concern is convincing your fellow workers. That will not work if they will have nothing to do with you.
That is also the mistake people make when they are very direct. “So, I have said it honestly, right in front of him.” Well, congratulations, but the question is of course: has it got any effect? If the answer is no, then you must seriously ask yourself why not. To be straightforward is ok, but to be effective is much better.
Example of what not to do
I know a Joe who was struggling with his supervisor. That happened to be a BM. He was not only direct, but also somewhat rough in the mouth. He went to this BM.
– “Say, listen. You can behave like an asshole, and think that we get scared of it, but if I have to to, I’ll knock you out of your comfort zone.”
So, that was out. That cleared the air. But the consequences were adverse. Joe was worked out slowly and systematically. His BM applied all means that we now know. He influenced the decision-maker and his most important envoys.
– “Joe is the most important bottleneck in my team,” he told them behind closed doors. “He has no self-reflection and reacts negatively everywhere. He infects the team, and makes a mood against me. It is not good for the organisation.”
Within six months, Joe started a project that led to his dismissal. To the grief of his colleagues, who praised Joe because of his social feeling and expertise. The BM reported to the people who were important for his career that this was because of Joe’s ‘political games’.
People who know the decision-makers and their entourage will usually not be in trouble. But you have to work on that. Only the sun rises for free.
Those who want to get rid of the BM serve a wonderful purpose. You prove the organisation a great service. But you must dare to be a little mean in such a situation. You have to dare to manipulate, dare to gossip, of course not be afraid to show and attack adverse behaviour. The end justifies the means.
You always have to keep in mind that you only do this at BMs and not at good managers with added value. On the contrary, you have to be loyal to them. Them you provide high productivity, help keep costs low, never be sick and praise the most important people in your organization. And then there is little chance, that you will ever meet with a BM again.
My final thoughts
If the above is not you and you do not want to or cannot be a player, because it is not in you, then there is still a way out for you. Become your own boss and have your own internet business, like I did. If you want to see how that works, please see my personal review of the world’s best internet business support program by clicking here.