9 ways to tame a bad boss

You don’t have to suffer silently under a difficult manager. Here’s how to manage up, enlist help, and offer feedback to make the best of a challenging leadership situation.

9 ways to tame a bad boss
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Any tech pro who’s been around the block has likely dealt at some point with an abusive, manipulative, or simply clueless boss. Bad bosses are found in every industry and in every line of business, but the challenging role that IT managers must fulfill ensures specific issues can be common.

Managers with business skills and team-leading experience may lack the tech chops your team employs every day, rendering them out of touch with the real-world challenges of getting the job done. Or the opposite may be true: The boss may be a technology star but lacks soft skills, and the promotion to management might only amplify the communication deficiencies.  

“We don't train people to be good bosses really,” says Jim Finkelstein, CEO of organizational development consultancy FutureSense. “We talk about it. We pay lip service to it. We may provide some remedial coaching after the fact. We don't understand how people can flip, and how they act under pressure.”

Finkelstein says the problem is compounded by leadership that may recognize a manager’s bad behavior but keeps the person in place to get the job done. 

“We put the wrong people in the role,” he says, “and don't support them as human beings in learning how to lead, and not everybody is a natural born leader.”

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