If you have an outstanding manager, consider yourself lucky. Most managers are good, but very few are outstanding. An outstanding manager is someone with a truly incredible base of technical knowledge in his or her field—someone who is capable of consistently getting the best out of his or her team. An outstanding manager not only trains team members well, but also actually inspires them! Probably ten percent of managers across the country (okay, let’s be generous—twenty percent) meet this criteria.
Unfortunately, that leaves eighty percent in the “good, but not outstanding” category. If you work for someone in this group, you can likely find legitimate things to complain about without trying too hard. But before you go down that negative road, consider the following four facts.
Most managers are doing the best they can. I don’t know of a single manager who goes to work with the intent of making things difficult for his or her team members. Managers want to succeed at their jobs, and they want you to succeed at yours. There are exceptions to this, of course, but they are just that—exceptions.
Most managers have never been to “Manager School.” Your manager was probably promoted because he or she was good at a particular job, but that doesn’t magically translate into being good at managing, leading and inspiring. The sad fact is that most managers receive very little formal leadership training. Consider your manager’s training against your expectations—perhaps your manager is doing a better job than you think!
Most managers have to do double duty. Managers have to do their own work on top of supervising everyone else’s, which means that they are sometimes forced to spend time helping others while their own duties fall by the wayside. This can be doubly frustrating when it means listening to a team’s frustrations, disappointments, or worse—complaints.
Most managers (make that all managers) can’t please everyone. Your manager has a boss as well as a team, and pleasing everyone can be near impossible. The problem is that everyone believes his or her needs are more important than everyone else’s, and everyone expects the manager to do whatever it takes to make them happy. Imagine coming to work every day knowing someone will be less than happy with something. What fun it is to be a manager!
So your manager isn’t outstanding. Well, adjust your expectations. Give your manager a break. If you don’t, and you are promoted to a management position one day…watch out for karma!