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How to Address Problems with Your Manager

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 11 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
How To Address Problems With Your Manager

Just as there are bad teachers and doctors, so too are there bad managers. Just because they are senior to you in the workplace, it does not inherently mean that they are good at their job. It is important that you are able to deal with a problem with your manager as soon as possible in order for the issue not to fester, make you want to leave your job or start to effect you unnecessarily.

It is more than likely that your company is well aware of the shortcomings of your line manager. Unless you work for a one man band, your line manager will have a boss of their own, so as long as you deal with the issue in the appropriate manner, there is no reason why you should just put up with a difficult situation.

If the problem is not directly related to your manager but you know that they may not have time for or take your problem seriously, you ought to consider the option of discussing your issue with your HR manager, or perhaps waiting until your line manager is on annual leave an bringing up the problem with their boss, or the line manager of another team, depending on how long you are able to wait and the urgency of the issue.

Don’t Just Complain

It is worth your while to invest some time in clarifying what your problem is because this will make it both more likely that you are not seen as just complaining and also that the problem can be resolved.

Firstly, think about the particular issue. Is it performance related? A training or support issue? A problem directly related to your manager? Or someone else on your team?

If your problem is directly related to your manager, it is worth you identifying the type of person they are, as well as the type of manager. What is your manager’s ego like? Some managers want to be your friend, where others like to exaggerate the ‘boss, staff’ relationship. Do they like to patronise you in meetings or are they encouraging?

How to Get the Ball Rolling

If, once you have established the details of your issue and have thought about the personality quirks of your manager, you feel able to approach them directly, there are a few ways to initiate the conversation.

If you want to bring their attention to a relatively small matter, such as waning additional training, either pop your head round their office door and ask for a chat for email and ask when would be a good time to talk.

If you have a more involved or serious issue, such as problems with a colleague or project, you could also send an email, but acknowledge the purpose of your meeting. You could say “I would like a confidential meeting with at some point this week to discuss issues with the x project. Can you let me know when would be a good time for you?”

Speak Out in a Tricky Situation

The trickiest of issues to deal with is when the problem is directly related to your line manager and they are unapproachable and egotistical. Perhaps this may be the point where you feel that you would prefer to look for another job is your manager is so difficult, but it may be that other members of staff feel the same and your bravery will help them to speak up, or that your manager’s boss is aware of the problems and your comments may support their suspicions.

So, let’s say you are feeling brave and are keen to not have to find another job just because your manager is not performing well in theirs. You can make an appointment to talk to your line manager and request that a colleague, other manager or HR manager joins. This need not look too confrontational, unless you want it to. Just send an email to the three people you think are appropriate and suggest a time and location – a private meeting room, or even a coffee shop if your being seen together would set tongues wagging.

As the meeting approaches, this is where your preparation will come in handy – there is no point having the courage to speak up without making your case clearly and accurately. As long as you keep factual, positive and keen to resolve the issue, you will have the support of your organisation and will gain greater respect in the workplace.

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I have been off sick, i was repeatedky phoned and messaged by ny line manager and was in hospital on a ward where she continued to message and harass me even though i had given them a full update of my situation. I was out of hospital a week and they demanded i go in for a meeting. I declined. They kept hassling me to come back into work so i did but i still wasnt fully fit, i was placed onto a level 1 warning even though i was genuinely ill and in hospital, so i saw oc health at work who then restricted my hours. I have now been into hospital 6 times since iv been back at work and have been on restricted duties. And since iv been back at work my manager hasnt even bothered with me at all, iv asked her to sort things out, she hasnt, all the messages of well being stop and its taken me to sort out my own oc health appointments and other things that my line manager should be doing. Iv now just recieved a letter for re-deployment. Its a complete joke, iv had no time to recover my work have not helped me one bit and if anything have caused me more stress upon top of my current illness. I feel my manager is terrible at her role, and when she does contact normally through messages she gives me the wrong information and when i question it she just ignores me leaving me to sort out her mess again. Im at a loss.
manneedshelp - 11-Apr-18 @ 10:47 AM
I work for a very good company but the people who manages the team is not qualified to be a team leader. My team leader has her own rules she quotes that always to get the job done. I am being treated like a slave from the time I came to her team. She treates people as a 10 year old to get the job done. She has a good name with the manager because he sees the result of work but forgets to see if people are happy around work place. Not everyone has the same tolerating capacity to hold on to things. I am an India working in UK i don't really feel happy at work this makes my stress level go high all the time. I met HR and they say the same as my manager says as she is really a good consistent team leader. But where does that consistancy come from we give work she monitors that's all. I am so sick of this issues at work place. Can anyone advise me on this please. I will lodge a grevience complaint against these people is what I am thinking. No one really listens to the problem to get the solution. I just asked for a change in team and that's not happening too. She has a proper rage with me all I see. Pls advise!
Diya - 9-Apr-17 @ 11:31 AM
okay, where do I start hmm being treated unfairly in the workplace abused because I am young, not getting the proper training from my coworkers and supervisor just push me to the side when all I'm trying to do is do my job and do it right , but some of my coworkers want me to fail I had one older lady who suppose to train me on her duties, every time I asked her excuse was I will later, or can't right now that she left on workers comp, I am stuck doing her job which I have no idea what I'm doing when I told my supervisor he just ignored me. I really want to file on him but don't know the right thing to say.
Faithinyou - 1-Jul-16 @ 4:19 AM
My manager has no other skills other than to put people down, he has shortman syndrome and doesn't respect anyone other than the MD. he doesn't want any progress in the company unless he has something to do with it.
si - 27-Oct-15 @ 12:30 PM
I feel my direct manager is doing everything he can to stop me improving myself. Every time an opportunity arises, whether its simple training or taking time off to learn more about the software I use, he puts hurdles in the way. He's not strictly doing anything wrong which is where lies my problem. There are many people in the company aware of his traits and my predecessors have left for exactly these reasons. The MD is aware of his traits however when I get a chance to speak to him about any issues I have he makes valid excuses for him which then puts me 2 steps back as I don't want to keep moaning about him. I'm at the point where its either him or me and I'm already lining up interviews elsewhere. How do I deal with this situation without it looking like I'm blackmailing my boss or looking like I've just got it in for my manager?
Si - 27-Oct-15 @ 11:12 AM
I think a large part of the problem this day and age is generation gap on the part of the employee and the employer/manager.Years ago if you did more, better quality work you got more money, respect and appreciation.These days with the "next" generation managers, they expect you to go above and beyond for the same pay scale as the employee who does less-average-mediocre work.I was always raised to do my best at everything and give it my all.I have two young children and reaallly wonder if I should be passing the same values on to them.These days all it seems to get you is more work, and then the mediocre are promoted instead of you.I am 38 years old, just in case you take interest in the age of the person giving their perspective.
Stretchy - 16-Sep-12 @ 1:54 PM
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