The good, the bad and the bully

Approaches to management can be defined in so many different ways. Years ago I completed a leadership and management qualification, which taught me about different styles, approaches and theories. In terms of my own style, I've continually adapted according to my work environment, culture, individuals and team dynamics. When I look back at my own managers, I've generally had good experiences, with a couple of negative ones. The quality of the line management relationship is one of the most important contributing factors to workplace satisfaction, however I have also gained a lot, if not more, from my negative experiences. Here are three key lessons:

1) What not to do

Poor managers have taught me so much about what not to do. I have worked for some very hierarchical organisations where certain groups of staff were treated less favourably than others. Witnessing this behaviour made me determined to always treat everyone equally, regardless of their role, seniority or anything else. I would have done this any way but seeing how poorly some managers treated others made me aware of just how important the basics, such as respect, are.

2) Improved self awareness

I usually get on very easily with most people, so when I find a professional relationship to be challenging, I reflect on why that is. Sometimes it isn't about me but at other times, reflecting in this way has given me a lot of insight into myself. Try thinking about the people you find most difficult to work with and what that tells you about yourself. It could be that you are so different that it's hard to relate to each other. Alternatively, you might find that their negative qualities reflect some of your own, that you're unaware of, or those of other people in your life.

3) Don't take things personally

I used to take certain behaviours quite personally until I realised it was totally about the other person and not me. If you have a bad manager, it really isn't about you. Perhaps they are struggling and feel out of their depth; they might be a control freak or maybe they are simply not a nice person. Either way, none of these things have anything to do with you and everything to do with them. You deserve to go to work every single day and be valued and appreciated for your hard work (providing you are working hard, of course!).

The moral of the story is that sometimes you can't immediately change your work situation but you can try to change how you look at it. If you see a negative experience as a learning opportunity and one which you stand to gain something from, you will be well placed to get through what will, in the long-term, be just a short time in your life.


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