Many managers are under appreciated. They endure direct reports endlessly complaining about everything from salary to the temperature of the office. From above, there is the piling on of more demands, fewer resources and pressure to achieve random metrics. The great ones are flexible and adjust their sails to the shifting winds while they navigate choppy waters.
The problem is, these managers are rare.
According to Gallup, up to 80% of managers are miscast in their current role. With the number of the leadership books now rivaling the number of cookbooks published each year, you would think someone has found a winning recipe for success. Unfortunately, we seem stuck with either sugary, feel-good treats, or small portions of inadequate nutrition that leave us with a bitter taste. A proliferation of managers who either hover like helicopters, squawk incessantly like seagulls or elude detection like a Yeti, make them an easy target for blame.
You may be fortunate to work with a great boss and can probably define what makes them so. However, in one survey, 35% said they would forego a significant pay raise in exchange for seeing their direct supervisor fired.
At some point in your career you realize the person who most cares about your success had better be you. That means you have to take a stronger position in leading the direction you want it to go. So, if you need one, how do you get a new boss?
There is a broad continuum of choices.
Quit. You could roll the dice and hope you find a better boss the next time around. This sounds extreme and foolhardy because it is. It is also the most common solution people employ to handle a toxic relationship with their manager.
Transfer. Less extreme, and not always possible, is to seek a transfer within the existing organization. This could involve learning new skills, a change in geography and an increase in politicking. If successful, you may or may not find greener grass.
Do Nothing. Deciding to do nothing is a choice, indecision is not. You could try to bear it with a false grin, just like the majority of your coworkers. You may be able to wait it out, after all, organizations change leaders with increasing frequency. However, the cost you pay in the decrease of your quality-of-life, productivity, self-esteem and future career growth could be detrimental.
Hire a New Boss. By the way, solopreneurs and freelancers are not exempt from having a lousy boss. Effective managers have a particular set of skills that help foster compliance, communication, confidence, production, and growth of those they manage. If you are not managing yourself well, your personal enterprise is at risk.
Self-aware, high performers know this about themselves, and it does not matter if they are working alone or are part of a large organization. If they are missing the discipline needed to accomplish their goals, they find an accountability partner. Someone to help them do the things that need to be done even when it is difficult, or they do not feel like it.
If you have a great boss, good for you. Enjoy. It is satisfying to work on something bigger than yourself with people who support each other and imbue confidence when challenges arise.
For the other 60 to 80%, what will you do?