America is a country where children are taught that they can succeed at anything they put their mind to. According to studies conducted by Gallup, that might not be the case- this particular study suggests that 82 percent of managers are unqualified for their jobs: “Everyone has talent in some areas, but few have the innate talent to become a great manager.” [Gallup]. It’s no small secret that effective management is a complex and delicate balance, Machiavellian by nature – how can you simultaneously be feared and loved? But too often, top managers, chosen for their strong personalities and determined leadership style, become disliked for the same reason.
The same Gallup poll suggests that more than half of employees work for “terrible bosses,” under ineffective management and with people who generally make their lives difficult. But the best senior executives know that no man is immortal, no one’s power unlimited. If you’ve noticed questionable management on your team or within your organization, we encourage you to take a stand. Today, in honor of our fair country and the bravery of our forefathers, we beseech you to do as they did – today you will declare independence from tyrannical management. No time to be timid. Let us show you how to quit with class this 4th of July.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
Recognize the Signs
By the time our FF’s got around to asserting their intentions, King George III had racked up a laundry list of major offenses. As we know, history tends to repeat itself, and it seems as though plenty of Six Sigmas have been taking pages directly out of his book. Do any of these situations sound familiar?
|He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.||Do great ideas and suggestions within your organization go unrecognized or unheard?|
|He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.||Is his voice the only one that matters within your company?|
|He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.||Do you worry for the safety of your job if you don’t agree with his opinions?|
|For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:||Do other colleagues act only on his best interest, making you feel unsafe or threatened?|
|For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:||Are coworkers fired for little or no reason? Do you feel as though you have no chance to defend yourself in discussions or conflicts at work?|
|For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:||Has your boss restructured departments within your company, at your and other employee’s expense?|
|He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.||… Let’s hope it hasn’t come to this.|
Spend enough time with a terrible boss, and you’ll start to question your sanity. What’s worse, you may question your own capabilities, too. Don’t fall victim to professional Stockholm syndrome – recognize your own value and start plotting your next move. There are plenty of management techniques and styles; some are decidedly more authoritarian or hands-on than others. But when a manager crosses the line between “assertive” and “aggressive,” it’s time to move on.
Find a Plan B
Before you make your great escape, determine where it is that you plan on escaping to. It’s much easier to secede from a tyrannical king, if you’ve already got a new kingdom to call your own. Start warming up leads way in advance – now is the time to wine, dine and redefine your current relationship with your most well-connected contacts. Polish your social profiles till they shine. Practice an elevator pitch that explains your unique value, and what you’re looking to achieve in your next role, and throughout the course of your career. Update your resume to reflect what a catch you really are, and fine-tune it for each new proposal you encounter. The next time an interesting opportunity arises, take some time to tailor each CV and cover letter to match the offer in question, and you’ll be ready for whatever exciting possibilities come your way.
Consider Your Exit Strategy
It’s a common theory that “employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.” While there are plenty of factors that go into employee satisfaction – relationship with colleagues, alignment with workplace values, compensation – that’s a sad commentary on today’s managers, but don’t take it out on the rest of your organization. As with any relationship, professionals should always aim to leave an employer in better shape than they found it. Once you’ve decided that it’s time to move on, get your affairs in order. Think about who will be filling your shoes. Craft a handover briefing that leaves no question unanswered. Work with your team well in advance to consider how they can continue on successfully without your guidance, and don’t leave any loyal employees in the lurch.
Fact: Not since the original Declaration of Independence has anyone successfully crafted an “open letter” to a tyrannical leader. Before you hit “send” on a company-wide email airing your grievances, stop. Forget any misguided notions of leaving in a blaze of glory – this isn’t leaving a legacy, only burning bridges and ruining your reputation. When it comes time to part ways, transparency is key. Speak with your team members and employees, and be honest with the rest of the management team about your decision to leave. Tact is an integral part of your departure, so be frank but diplomatic when expressing your reasons for moving on. To go forth and focus on new and uncharted territories, to better yourself, as a leader and as a person, these are noble goals. The most talented managers can recognize when it’s time for the next step, and we at Experteer wish you luck in taking yours.