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Stuck with a bad boss? Here’s a survival guide

Source | LinkedIn | Abhigyan Chand | Editor, India at LinkedIn News

(Editor’s note: Are you facing a vexing issue at work? Do you feel like you’re hitting a career dead end? Does work-life balance sound like a myth? WorkplaceWise, which brings actionable advice from top HR leaders, is your cheat sheet to all such posers. Got a question? Leave a comment below, or send your questions to ask_indiaeditors@linkedin.com.)

You Asked: I would like to get suggestions on how to handle a manager who: is afraid of their position; steals the team’s credit; doesn’t cascade important business information; doesn’t discuss any decisions; tries to control; and doesn’t let team members communicate with other teams. — Arthi Maddala

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Expertspeak: Prabir Jha, Founder & CEO, Prabir Jha People Advisory

You have the quintessential nightmare: having a very poor manager! Unfortunately, you are not alone. There are thousands of people who have to suffer such leadership every day. Rather than make specific and possibly overlapping suggestions, I will share wider, and hopefully more comprehensive, advice. 

1) Some managers have never had useful coaching as they rose through the ranks. They typically got promoted for pure left-brain task deliveries. It is thus possible that this is their amblyopic behaviour arising out of a sheer blind spot. The first thing is to choose the right moment, usually not the first thing in the morning, and ask if you could bring up some issues that are bothering you. You could hope for psychological safety but it’s better to start with polite caveats. Use more balanced, mature expressions rather than a deluge of catharsis. If the person is willing to listen and asks for specific examples, do share. The issues are many, so stay succinct. The manager may indeed listen and appear surprised, or may smirk and retort. Or could even offer an apology and thank you for bringing it up and offer to work on the feedback. Basis the response, thank and close. This is not the time to get into a fight. 

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