How To Work For An Insecure Manager

Nobody is perfect and we all have times when things do not go the way we would like them to – this will naturally bring about changes in how we work and perceive issues but what is important is to recognise that this situation needs to be dealt with quickly and carefully to get us back on track.

A leader with insecurity issues is a wounded animal: personal contempt and a wider level of contempt for their staff and, even more damaging, a level of distrust and alienation away from the objectives of the organisation. Without realising (or even caring) this has a drastic impact upon the morale and motivation of the workforce to such an extent that the very effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation is threatened,

For the vast majority of leaders, the ability to carefully and effectively manage staff is a range of skills sadly lacking even when insecurity is not a problem.

In such circumstances the following issues emerge:

  1. There is tendency for the manager concerned to start to micromanage staff and to seriously impact upon the team members and their abilities to make decisions and to just get on with the job.
  2. Decisions are now made by the leader without asking for relevant technical or support services assistance. Bad decisions start being made because their normal locus of control has been lost.
  3. Deadlines become imposed rather than being negotiated: timeframes are arbitrary and often make no sense in the broader context of management and getting tasks completed.
  4. Formal communication from the higher levels within the organisational structure are now treated with contempt and rather than following the directions from above they are ridiculed and given little or no attention when setting priorities for the team.
  5. There is a total avoidance of personal blame or responsibility for failures: non-performance and errors are the fault of the team and individuals within it.
  6. Opportunities to recognise and publicly acknowledge the work of the team or individuals are ignored, creating frustration and demotivation.
  7. Individual meetings on performance are only held when the manager is angry or in a contemptuous mood, hence feedback is highly negative and jaundiced against both the recipient and towards both the team and the wider organisation.
  8. Creating an effective vision of what individual/team/organisational success becomes impossible: this is a major responsibility of leaders and managers in painting a clear and relevant image of success for staff to work towards. Success is not being measured in real terms and staff have to second-guess what this is!

So, what can you do?

  • Work to keep your morale and personal self-worth. Not easy but essential if you are to weather the storm.
  • Be brave and speak out about what you are feeling and why this is the case.
  • Ask the manager for help with a project or issue knowing that the topic concerned is something they are good at or know a lot about. This shows respect which will soften the approach of the manager concerned.

A difficult situation as once contempt sets in it is hard to break out of the mind-set.

Be careful out there!

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