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Managing Up - How Entry Level and Middle Managers Can Deal Successfully With a Controlling Boss

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

Many new and middle managers feel severely limited by their boss. They end up responding like pinballs in a pinball machine, being bounced from one thing to another, never feeling in control of their solutions, decisions, and actions.

Many top executives get caught up in delegation, scapegoating, taking credit when things go well, but blaming others when they don't. These leaders make employees feel like they aren't doing enough, always need to improve, and nothing they do is ever enough.

There is little if any praise, validation of a job well done, or good will that will encourage the team member to do their best. A controlling boss that micro manages, where it seems no good deed ever goes unpunished, can leave a middle manager or worker frozen in his or her tracks, unable to be creative or have the confidence to solve problems.

In these situations, you have to manage up. The first step is to override the feelings you have as a result of being subject to toxic management skills. Realize you may not be doing much that is wrong. Your ideas and actions could be right on target. It could be your boss's difficult management style that is causing all the criticism and lack of recognition.

I often discuss this with executives, managers, and teams. I see us as computers with an operating system. Just like a computer, we get viruses that cause us to think and behave in unhealthy ways.

Most computers automatically run a virus scan at night that catches problems and corrects them. Unfortunately, we humans don't often upload a new operating system for optimal outcomes in leadership, business, and life.

When I work with companies, our goal is to create self awareness, knowledge, and coachability to quarantine the virus and fix the problem. You quickly see what you've been doing wrong, why it isn't working, and enlightening ways to move forward with far greater success.

In my seminars, training and coaching, we build greater awareness and create corrective "uploads" for individuals, leaders, and others.

Managers sometimes feel if they want something done right, they must do it themselves. At first this may work. A few projects are completed by an experienced expert who knows exactly what the company needs.

But very soon, you get overwhelmed, work quality starts to slide, and you feel burned out. Life/work balance suffers as do relationships and quality of life.

It's right at this critical time that your boss gives you more work because he knows you will do it right. The overwhelmed feeling gets worse and the entire experience spirals out of control.

We work to set boundaries with methods to effectively delegate. Rather than letting your team try to look busy while you do all the work. Teach them how to complete it to the expected standard. You learn how to smartly hand off work to others without the usual "do me a favor" that fails to do delegation right.

You can make big changes in your effectiveness by being aware of the social and psychological conditions around you. This varies from one person to the next. For many it means responding with the correct facial expressions and words. Then demonstrating a positive attitude and approach for your team to emulate.

You build a much more positive atmosphere that empowers everyone and gets far more accomplished with greater quality and success. All while you enjoy a better work/life balance.

(c) 2020 carlos raposo & . All rights reserved.

Carlos Raposo works with companies of all sizes, from new trainees to C-level executives, to help them achieve better leadership, change more effectively, stage effective turnarounds, improve their workplace culture for happier, energized, more effective employees, and supercharge their overall forces of success.

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