1.Get a coach.
Clarify what’s going on and come up with strategies. Learn more about yourself and how to deal with others. That’s a win-win. Don’t leave any situation without learning from it.
2.The company culture.
If the norm is hostility and incompetence, you won’t be changing it, and you can count on it getting worse. Should your particular manager leave, another one similar will be hired.
3.Everything else is excellent.
If there’s something important or meaningful you’re getting out of the job, stay, but don’t get lulled in to staying forever. It will get worse, not better, and eventually the balance will tip, so be prepared.
Your attitude can always improve a situation. Work with your coach, and surround yourself with positive people. Jobs and managers come and go. The only disastrous outcome would be for you to become cynical and pessimistic about yourself, life, or people in general.
5.Are you in the loop?
There’s power in numbers. Sometimes your colleagues can make up for a bad manager.
6.Age and career potential of the manager.
Use your gut instincts to evaluate the situation. Someone new may not last. If young and new, the chances are even greater. If they’re middle-aged and dug in like a tick, they’ll endure and you won’t. Use your gut to tell you who’s on-the-move and who has moved in to stay. If they’re liked by superiors, should there be a confrontation, they’ll be staying, you’ll be leaving.
7.Know your strengths.
We recommend taking the StrengthsFinder profile ( www.susandunn.cc/assessments.htm ) and having a coach go over it with you. This unique assessment tells you the tools you have for dealing with life that are innate to you. An inept manager will have you focusing on your weaknesses and will make you feel inept. It’s part of what they “do”.
Always be working on your personal and professional development. Just as you acquire degrees, skills and expertise in your field, you should be developing your emotional intelligence. Such competencies as stress management, leadership, interpersonal skills, quick and accurate reality-testing, communication skills, resilience and flexibility will help you in this situation, as well as any other you face. Learning EQ has long-term positive results.
9.Look out for yourself.
Guard your health – physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll be more stressed, more likely to take sick days, and more likely to become negative and pessimistic. Coaching can help bolster you at this time. Use your own social support network as well.
10.Be mindful of patterns in your life.
If this is the last in a long series of impossible managers, it’s you. If you transfer to another department or job, and the same situation occurs, it’s you. If you also have an impossible spouse, kids, relatives and friends, it’s you. Get coaching!