Dealing with a management style that doesn’t suit you

The boss from hell – we’ve all been there. Bad bosses are a part of working life just as much as the coffee machine or the malfunctioning printer. But just because they’re there doesn’t mean we have to put up with them anymore.

Managing a team is intrinsic to being a manager. If someone can’t do that, then they’re not an effective or strong leader. And that’s fine – not everyone is suited to a leadership role. It takes all walks of life, as they say. Yet despite this, we occasionally find ourselves under poor management in the workplace.

There’s a wide array of bad management styles. From micromanaging to a bit too much of a carefree attitude, they all have negative impacts on the team and work. So what do you do when you discover your boss is a nightmare boss? It’s not always easy, and it can make going to work become less of an enriching experience and more like going to war.


There’s all sorts of management styles – and not all of them are good. Or, scratch that, not all of them are ones that suit how you work. Everyone is different. And that’s okay, because sometimes you can deal with it. If you both have very different approaches and views, then things get sticky. Does your boss has a laissez-faire approach to managing, but you live for feedback, post-it notes, and meticulous briefings? You have to let them know. If you struggle with being micromanaged, then let them know. Nine times out of ten, any issues you have with your boss is just a problem of misunderstandings and miscommunication. Most people are fairly reasonable, and your boss just wants you to do your best, so if you sit down and talk through your boundaries then you can  always come to a good compromise.


Unfortunately though, it’s not always so simple. Some managers just can’t be dealt with on your own or within your team. If you’ve got a boss that likes to instill fear, is insulting, or a boss that is always absent, then you’re going to have to go higher.

No one likes confronting somebody about their behaviour – particularly when you feel like your work and job would be at stake for doing so, but something has to be done. If you need to talk to someone, most companies and offices will have trusted people or “mentors” who look after and over others in the company. It’s basically the guidance counsellor you had at school. They’re usually the first person you go to with any grievances. Not every country has one and the guidelines may differ, so it’s always worth checking with someone from HR about who you need to speak to.

If the treatment you’re receiving is out of line or they continue to carry on the way they are, then make it known to other superiors and your HR team. It’s not great having to go around your boss, but things won’t change if nothing is ever addressed. Bringing your mentor with evidence and a detailed account can strengthen your complaints, and provides reassurance and support.

A lot of advice blogs say that you shouldn’t let it affect your work and to keep your head up. But let’s face it, you’re spending eight hours a day with this person – it’s going to affect your work and your mental health. So don’t keep it bottled up, because the chances are it’s only going to get worse.


Quitting is one of the more difficult things to do, but you can’t say it’s not effective. If you’re at your wits end and the manager (and management) doesn’t seem to be budging, it’s best to jump ship. It’s certainly not going to get better, so what’s the point of wasting energy on it? At the end of the day, it’s about you and not about them. So put yourself first – you’ll feel lighter for it.

Although baring in mind that it is always good to quit with grace, regardless of how bad the situation may be. Just find another job, put your notice in, and move on. Heroic tales of walkouts and throwing coffee may be good chat in the pub, but are probably damaging for your career in the long run. And let’s face it, your mate was probably fabricating some of that story of the time he fought his boss in the break room.


Overall, no one should just “handle” a bad boss at work. Work has too long been seen as a one way street – that you work for them in return for payment. In reality, work is so much more. Work has the ability to enrich and develop yourself, help yourself grow, and carve your path in life – that is, of course, if it’s with the right management.


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