Not all managers are created equal. In fact, some are just downright bad. However, just because you’re stuck with an incompetent manager doesn’t mean you can’t find other opportunities for mentorship, coaching and professional growth. Even though in the past, managers were the sole gatekeepers to an employee’s opportunities at a company, today’s reality is that employees can have much more control and autonomy even when their own managers are ill equipped to lead. Here’s how employees bypass the inadequacies of their own manager to continually develop:
Seek Coaching from Another Manager
When it’s clear your manager either isn’t equipped or isn’t interested in coaching, pursue other mentors in the organization. Because work today is often done across departments and teams, it’s possible you’ve interacted with managers who aren’t your own. Take advantage of those relationships and ask for their feedback on your performance. They might be better equipped to identify strengths and weaknesses you or your manager otherwise might not see.
Pursue Feedback from Your Peers
By feedback, we don’t mean “gossip about your incompetent manager together.” Instead, solicit feedback from the people you work with most often. Sometimes when managers don’t give feedback, it’s not because they’re incompetent – it’s because they’re not familiar with the work you’re actually doing on a daily basis. When you get feedback from your peers, share it with your manager so they have more understanding of your contributions to the team and potential areas for improvement.
Take Control of Your Own Development
Even with a great manager, taking ownership of goal-setting and performance a good way to show and continually add value. No good manager wants to micromanage your progress anyways so why not put yourself in charge of setting, tracking and adjusting your goals? On top of that, stretch yourself and set goals that are out of your comfort zone. Even if you don’t achieve them, you better know your skills, strengths and limitations.
Have you ever had a bad manager? How have you worked around their shortcomings to perform well?