working with a difficult manager

A difficult manager can severely impact an otherwise enjoyable role. But rather than throwing in the towel, candidates should look at ways to make the most out of a tricky working relationship. We look at five different management styles and how best to work with them.

1. micro-manager 

Try to gain their trust by asking to take on a small project outside your current responsibilities. Handle the task unassisted, but provide up-to-the-minute information about the project’s progress – this will give them reassurance that they are in control. 

2. ghost boss

Be assertive. When you are given a task, ask for clarification on the exact result your boss wants. Provide a follow-up email which documents all key tasks and responsibilities discussed, and throughout the project provide regular email updates on your progress with any questions highlighted. Investigate possible mentors from other areas within your organisation to assist you.

3. credit thief 

While it may be uncomfortable, take this issue up directly with your boss. Start by asking the question, “How do I get credit for the work I did on projects x, y and z?”. Gauge their reaction – if your boss reacts positively, they were probably unaware they stole the credit in the first place. If they react negatively, tread carefully. If the behaviour continues, you'll need to raise your concerns with another manager in the business.

4. someone who plays favourites 

Keep yourself front and centre in your boss’ mind by excelling at the tasks they assign you. Put your hand up for other projects which most people reject. Send a monthly email to them asking for guidance on any areas where you need help, while detailing your key wins for that period. By remaining in your boss’ peripheral vision at all times, they will soon regard you as an integral team player.

5. someone who lacks direct communication skills

Take the initiative and schedule a weekly or monthly meeting with your boss face-to-face. Tell them you would like to work more closely with them on your projects. Similarly, take the lead during these meetings; have a set, structured approach and include questions you would like answered in person at a future meeting, not over email. Ask for, and willingly accept, their constructive feedback.

A Randstad recruitment consultant can continue to support you, even when you're placed in a role.

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