How IT Managers Can Deal With Bad Bosses

Oh, oh – what's an IT manager to do when they have a bad boss?
Oh, oh – what’s an IT manager to do when they have a bad boss?
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In a perfect world, we’d all work for the best boss ever. They would provide us with the support and resources that we needed to do our job and they’d always have time to talk with us about whatever happened to be on our minds. The reality of the world is that all too often we find ourselves working for a bad boss who may have no IT manager skills. Is it “career over” or is there something that we can do about this?

Having “The Talk”

The simplest and most direct way to attempt to solve the problem of having a bad boss is to sit down and have a talk with them. Yes, I realize that this can be very difficult to do – this type of thing is not covered in any IT manager training; however, if you ever want to have a chance to solve this problem this is going to be the first step that you have to take.

The most important thing that you are going to have to keep in mind is that you need to make this conversation about “solving the problem” and not about what is wrong with your boss. Nobody wants to be told that they are doing a bad job. A good way to approach this would be to let them know that there is something wrong with the organization and then search for ways that both of you can fix it.

What’s going to be important about this discussion is that you are going to have to let your boss know that their actions are having a negative impact on you and your team. It can’t just be that your feelings are being hurt – they may not care. Rather, you need to be able to relate their actions to negative impacts on the company’s bottom line, Try your hardest to be constructive and non-judgmental.

The Power Of A Mentor

Sometimes having a talk with your bad boss won’t fix the problem. Despite having taken this step, the problem still remains. If you find yourself in this situation, then you are going to have to take another step to try to fix the problem.

An effective next step is to reach out to your mentor for advice. If you don’t already have a mentor, then this would be the time to go out and get one. In a perfect world, your mentor would be at the same level (or higher) than your boss. This would put them in position to be able to take them aside and have a talk with them in an effort to try to solve the problem.

Even working with your mentor may not solve your problem. Some bosses are just bad. If you find that this is your case, you may need to take the next step – going around your boss and having a talk with their boss. You need to realize that by doing this you will have forever damaged your relationship with your boss. If you find yourself having to take this step, it may be time for you to start to search for other career opportunities within your company.

What All Of This Means For You

We all wish that we could have a perfect boss. One that “had our back” and one that we could rely on to give us support when we needed it. However, life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes we end up with a bad boss.

If you find yourself in this situation, you’ve got several choices as to what you can do. The first thing that you have to do is to sit down and attempt to have a talk with your bad boss in a type of one-on-one IT team building exercise. There is always a chance that they don’t know that they are being a bad boss and this talk might be all that it takes to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, then you need to find a mentor. A mentor may be able to step in and help you out or at the very least provide you with guidance on what your next step should be.

Nobody wants to work for a bad boss. The job of being an IT manager is hard enough without having to deal with someone that you feel is not supporting you. The most important thing to realize is that you need to deal with this issue: don’t just let it slide. Face your bad boss and fix the problem!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that you should work for a bad boss before you start looking for other jobs?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

IT managers dread the day that they have to manage certain generations – we don’t have the IT manager skills to deal with this situation. Whatever generation the IT manager belongs to should be easy to manage – they know how that generation thinks. It’s all the other generations that cause the problems. However, it turns out that what we need to be doing is building teams that are open to all generations. Just exactly how are we supposed to go about doing that?