During our career, most of us have had personal experiences with bad managers. I personally had one very unprofessional manager, and below is the story on how I handled this situation.
When I worked at a small PR agency several years ago, I had a manager who was going through a lot of personal problems. She was always complaining about her boyfriend and how things were not going well in her life. Although I felt sorry for her, it got tiring hearing her whine day after day. I worked on a team that handled several consumer brand accounts, and each week we had client strategy meetings. During these meetings, this manager would interrupt client updates by team members, to give us an update on how things were going with her boyfriend.
In addition to these meeting interruptions, my manager would also send emails throughout the day to all the team members asking if we felt she should break up with her boyfriend and move to another city. Some of us were tempted to say yes, and offer to help her pack. But we realized that this would not be the right thing to do. However we all agreed that we had to do something because these interruptions were starting to affect our morale and work quality.
I really liked the team I worked with, but I knew I couldn’t deal with this manager much longer. So I decided to handle this situation by creating a meeting agenda. This is the order of business I listed: status updates, client discussion, media strategy, and personal problems. The first time I distributed this agenda at our weekly team meeting, I saw a confused look on my manager’s face as she reviewed the order of business. The other team members were not surprised however because I shared the agenda with them a few days earlier. After we went down the agenda and finally arrived at the last item on the list, myself and all the other team members looked at my manager. However she just blushed and didn’t say anything. We all sat there for a few minutes waiting for her talk, and when we realized that she wasn’t, each of us gave a brief five minute update on our personal lives. As we were doing this my manager looked around the table in disbelief.
A few days later we received an email from the manager. In the email, she apologized for her past behavior and went on to say that she didn’t realize how much she was disrupting our work day with her constant meeting interruptions and emails. She promised to act more professional going forward. Obviously my “special” agenda had done the trick.
This is the story of how I handled a very bad manager.