How to navigate your terrible managers

An insight into a typical workplace problem, no matter where you are.
During the last year of work, I reached new levels of mastery in the job. For this to happen, several favourable working conditions had to be met. These conditions allowed for the necessary creative freedom for the tasks set before me. Utterly unprecedented at the junior level considering the industry we are a part of. Having the freedom and capability to complete many vital tasks and projects afforded me many benefits and advantages and eventually lead to being awarded for my efforts.

Until the staff rotation 2018.

I knew there was going to be some turbulence in the job, considering the backgrounds of the incoming managers. But I was optimistic in the leadership of the company, and that if they changed the managers of last year, that they would change the managers of this year. After week one, I am not so sure.
The new managers, one being an immediate supervisor and the other a higher level trade supervisor. Come to the company without an open mindset. They have agendas which they want to deploy with tenacity, without having taken an appreciation of the landscape, or the way business is conducted. Despite having had a crash course induction week and been privy to high-level meetings, they are not relenting in deploying their ideas.

Why is this a problem?

Well, the environment I had enjoyed last year was one of freedom and autonomy. An environment I would enjoy for as long I met the business goals. This was amazing, and I had free reign in how I completed the goals. I achieved so much by not being limited by immediate management or by traditional rules and guidelines.

After delivering the induction for our crucial cell to the new managers, I feel it all fell on deaf ears. I can see the confusion and annoyance written on their faces and a feeling that I am threatening to what they want to achieve.

They have witnessed the freedom of expression I enjoy with other staff, the freedom of action I have in the workplace and the immense persuasion and authority that junior members have overall. From the workplaces that these managers come from, this is a direct threat to their ability to efficiently manage. This is because in the workplaces they come from, they lack any real long-term or on-going goals and objectives. Any goals and objectives they receive, they are granted plenty of time to plan and deal with them. This is in stark contrast to the on-going operationally live environment that we work in. This environment demands, leveraging the skills and knowledge of the very tiny workforce our company has. The skills and knowledge that make our place so efficient cannot be contained by one person or controlled by one person.

Summarised, the new managers are diminishing talent. They want people to report to them to do anything. They don’t develop the talent under their charge, they instead seek to own it and control it. They seek the limelight for personal ego boosts and will never give credit but will always take it.

So what to do?

Short of straight up insubordination, don’t replicate the same behaviours as the new managers. Recognise that you might be a better manager than your immediate boss, knowing this, give yourself permission to perform better than him. If you won’t be given the opportunity to develop, use this opportunity to develop others. Form your crew, build a community of people who will work the way that is necessary.

Watch the organisation take notice of the outstanding command you hold on people than your immediate manager. This is the key to navigating terrible management.

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