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The 5 Most Annoying Manager Traits and How to Deal With Them Without Quitting Your Job

© Getty Images Concept of chaos in the office with flying objects

By Michael Schneider, Inc.

Our strengths can also be our greatest liabilities. Fix these five toxic manager habits to increase employee retention.

We've all heard it before, "People leave their managers, not their companies." Unfortunately, according to a LinkedIn report, this old colloquialism is still very real today.

Having a bad boss is listed as the number one reason people switch jobs--and, its costing organizations big bucks. The average cost to replace an employee is between $45-150,000. This stems from expenses associated with marketing and advertising, recruiting fees, lost productivity, and training.

At one point or another, we've all experienced poor management. In fact, a Gallup report found that only one in ten people possess the ability to manage. With odds like these, you're going to have to learn how to work with bad bosses, or you'll be changing jobs constantly.

Although everyone's 'bad-boss' story is a little different, there are certain management flaws synonymous with poor management. 

In a Talent Solutions report, LinkedIn highlighted research that honed in on the top five worst traits in a boss. I've added my personal experience with each and offered some suggestions to help you deal with them.


1. Micromanaging.

No one likes to feel like they're being babysat, and that their every move is being closely watched and analyzed--it's suffocating. Although managers may feel like they are just being helpful, the truth is, they have trust issues.

The good news is, micromanagement can be dealt with if you're willing to put in the work.

Here's the core issue, it's not that micromanagers won't trust you, it just takes time. There's a proving period. Until you reach it, managers will hover and follow up closely to ensure the work is getting done correctly.

To beat micromanagement, you can either keep your head down, stay focused on delivering consistent results and power through work until you gain their trust. Or, you can shortcut the process by being upfront and asking what it would take to earn their trust.

To play devil's advocate, most managers have no idea that they're micromanaging. It may actually take you saying something until they realize it's an issue.


2. Being overly critical.

This is one of the tougher traits to deal with. The key is to remember that it's not personal. Most overly critical managers are just dealing with their own insecurities surrounding risk and errors. They are so fearful of making a mistake, that they project it onto their employees in the form of criticism and judgment.

Because they are so risk-averse, they will over-analyze details and rules to ensure that they never miss or break one.

This translates into unrealistic expectations and being overly critical. 

I had a manager like this, and at one point, I was terrified to send them anything because it would always come back with so much red pen that I felt incompetent.

Not saying that it's right, but once you get used to their work style and demands, you can anticipate their remarks and address them.


3. Being disorganized.

Being disorganized can happen for a couple of reasons. First, some managers need variety and get bored with routine or repetitive work. To keep things new, they take on multiple things at once for the sake of change and can get quickly buried by their large to-do-lists and competing priorities.

Second, some managers are naturally more flexible and prefer to delegate details. They choose people-facing, creative and collaborative work over managing specifics. To ensure that they have multiple opportunities to influence, they get involved in numerous projects.

Although this more flexible approach is fun to work with, there is a higher risk of details being missed and rules being broken due to their more uninhibited and casual style.

To create balance, it's important to come to meetings with an active list of projects/priorities and to real disorganized leaders in with clarifying questions to ensure work stays on track.


4. Being a 'know-it-all.'

We all know someone like this. It doesn't matter what the topic of discussion is--they're an expert on everything. In my experience, the "know-it-all" tendency is usually a byproduct of control orientated managers. Sometimes, they just can turn off the need to drive work, control situations, and steer conversations. 

The ironic thing is that the less a "know-it-all" knows, the more likely they are to interject their opinions. The best way to deal with an assertive manager is to avoid getting into arguments, show appreciation and acknowledge their views to defuse the situation, and don't be afraid to provide feedback. Many "know-it-all's" have no idea how others perceive their behavior.


5. Not having patience.

This is one of those cases where our strengths can also be our greatest liabilities. If left unchecked, skills like being proactive, results-oriented, fast-paced, and multitasking can be perceived by others as being intense, high-strung, and intolerant.

To survive an impatient manager, the key is to spend extra time establishing expectations and priorities. Impatience typically surfaces during times of deadlines and delays. If you can get ahead of projects and better manage expectations, you will prevent fire-drill situations.

This report from LinkedIn is an excellent reminder that management skills matter and that investing in leadership development is a great strategy to increase employee satisfaction and retention.



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