Dealing with a boss, a manager, or a leader that is toxic can be an emotional powder keg. Coping with this very common situation can be challenging.
Scott and Andrew share ideas around coping with impotent leaders in sometimes toxic work environments.
Don’t miss these Topics:
- Strategies for coping in a healthy way.
- Perception and reality – understanding the current state and the truth.
- Qualifying job opportunities to confirm toxicity.
- Concurrently performing and coping.
- Seeking 3rd Party Support through coaching, counseling, therapy, and mentoring.
- Be the leader you wish you had.
- Evaluation of options and making decisions about what to do.
Resources (including affiliate links)
Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace
Raw and Unedited Transcript
00:00:01 – 00:05:01
welcome to job seekers radio. I’m Andrew and I’m Scott. This production is meant to provide you the listener meaningful support to find great careers faster. Whether you’re you’re working or not in today’s episode. We’re talking about healthily coping with impotent leadership and internal politics and what do you do in. Your leader is really a red head. Hot Mess Yeah. It’s a topic that comes up often you. There are many articles out there. A quick Google search will get you there. We did want to talk about it. Not because others have it but because I think we have a voice to speak we both have experience with toxic leaders. I think everyone WHO’s been around this block more than once has and it’s surprising to me that it continues to be such a common instance? I guess what what makes some specific boss or a certain environmental is going to depend a lot on how that person or organization has grown into the position. They’re in so there’s going to be a unique set of reasons. I don’t think we need to really analyze the reasons why they’re there. It’s really just. How do we cope with this situation? And especially for those who have had a lot of experience in their work and then suddenly find themselves back in a situation that feels toxic or dealing with a leader. Who doesn’t seem to lead? Well it can be really frustrating. So we I WANNA talk about this from a sort of a step back in how we can help ourselves to cope with these situations and find ways to improve awesome. Tell me if this sounds like you. Have you ever had a new boss or a new leader. Yeah I think we all have. Have you been promised things that didn’t happen Many times okay. Tell me this sounds like you is the leader. Favoring somebody else over you never never happens right now or maybe you feel isolated you know working remotely as do. I sometimes feel isolated. I’m not getting face time or I’m not getting recognition or I’m not. There’s certain things I’m not getting really it comes to our own perceptions are we actually perceiving this accurately and so. That’s a really good caveat to start the conversation sometimes times. We don’t see things as clearly as they appear. What we WANNA talk about isn’t so much dealing with the times when we misunderstand ended when we want to encourage everyone to to look at that objectively tried to get as much input about it from co workers or other leaders or people who used to work work with with these people because you can always find that out on linked and do your due diligence to determine whether or not this is truly a toxic situation or your leader really isn’t a good leader whether that’s true impotence? In the sense that they don’t have the power to make positive change or maybe they just do play play favorites. Let let’s or they choose not to make a decision. They abdicate. Certain responsibilities that that’s another thing that we see all the time but we’re going to assume that you’ve done your due diligence and that you have confirmed in a relatively robust way that yes. This is the case that you’re dealing with that. They are in in fact a poor leader and I would encourage also people that might be looking for work. This is an opportunity to make sure that you validate everything. Yeah and make sure that you identify ideal leader and questions for you to identify. Okay how do I know. This person is my ideal leader or not. That really comes down to interviewing the interviewer. I’ve run into a couple of interviewers over the years that I’ve done interviews that they don’t like that they feel like they’re being controlled or they’re losing control of the conversation and I acknowledge that I would recommend to our listeners. Not to worry too much about that because most professional recruiters others whether it’s in house or consultant they appreciate those interview questions coming back to them because they know you know what you’re talking about. They a understand how to respond to these questions. Because they’re asking them the really good interviewers actually like it when you interview them because now you can start really focusing using unfit and this is where that toxicity is going to make. Its first appearance. We all put our best foot forward. We all want to see the good in the other people. especially if you’re out of work and you need a job you want to see this in a very positive way and I’m going to fit in and I’m going to make make this a great interview. You can’t leave your objective hat at the door. You have to interview the other person to ask those behavioral behavioral questions that are going to give you the insight on how they handle conflict. How do they handle favouritism? How do they handle these things? That add to the toxicity doc society in the workplace.
00:05:01 – 00:10:05
And certainly if you’re in a role the approach might be a little bit different or in that. Hey if I’m working in already under this person what do I do now and Dan really need to find a way to continue to perform and asking to be really hard. Because you feel like you’re doing it to get their approval or acknowledgment or whatever her But performing well for yourself and for the organization and maybe even the people that you work alongside find some motivation there to still perform embroil for a purpose that other than the leader. That might be hosing. You totally agree. The idea that I would start with. There is determine as best. You can what they truly value the toxic boss or at the ineffective leader is probably going to say something about the values instead aligned with the organization’s aspirational values. You know those things that they put on their website that we believe in this and that and that’s what makes us such a great company. Come worker okay. Yes yes because you should expect that what I found though is that every individual leader has their own personal values and it may be that. It’s something they don’t don’t really WanNa talk about because they either don’t recognize it as it is the recognize that it’s not really in line with company values. So they’re not gonNA talk about. What did they ask about? What does performance look like so when it comes to the question how am I performing? Well define good performance and then you document that all the way along and that’s what you’re talking about with that leader to ensure that you are meeting that leaders expectations and what does good performance. Look like Doc. So you’re setting the ground rule that they can trust you to get your job done and with toxic bosses or impotent bosses. That is the foundation. You must establish so that as you do start networking with others either in the organization or in other organizations that you’re still standing on solid ground and really. It’s time to take take the high road you’d have someone suggesting is yes. Perform well and find motivation to do so. Maintain composure if this person is truly toxic they’re gonna find ways to screw you up the diplomatic and like you said tracking everything if it’s just the fact that this is an arm’s length leader and they’re just out to lunch which does happen. Maybe an in two years from retirement. They’re biting whatever the reason might be. I’m reminded of what Simon Senate gave advice to the millennial generation and that is be delete. Delete that you wish you had and that means if this leader is not the one I wish I had and I want to have bi weekly one on ones then. I’m just going to schedule lows into his or her calendar and I’m GonNa take control of that interaction and that’s great advice in fact it’s interesting because The last big company that I worked with did exactly that the they actually launched a shift in their their one on one program if you will. It wasn’t a formalized program. But what they we’re doing was creating a tool within their company intranet their portal for employees a process or a platform where they were going to put the responsibility for scheduling those one on one interactions on the employ not on the leader and so DNA anyway was to empower those employees ways to take charge of their own careers which for some employees that were ready to do that. It was a great tool for those for whom this wasn’t they weren’t ready for. They sort of got left behind and it really didn’t help very much for them. That has been a growing experience for them to the idea that be the leader that you want to have a this is one of those principles of leading without authority where you are trying to influence people you wanna get their buying so you have to adapt to their style or you have have to connect with their values again. These are things that you can do to help to empower yourself in getting what you need. This is all valuable experiences as well. Because if you’re acting like the leader that you WanNa have guess what it won’t be long before you’re leading other people for real right and that person is going to be. Who knows where at at some point you need to make a decision and that is do I want to stick it out here? I want to see the course. Well is it worth doing that. Do I also need to be looking outside at alternatives. My suspicion is both hand. Yes if you’re in a situation and this is going to be different for different people depending on the role of the responsibilities. They have the the kind of work that they do. If you’re in a situation where you your company encourages or at least allows you to volunteer your time or to spend time away. Obviously the limited amount of time away from your desk for those organizations that pride themselves in in being active in the community they will generally speaking allow you a little bit of time to do things on your own. They may expect that to be job related and maybe they don’t. The idea is that you have a little bit of time. A little bit of bandwidth to start doing things that bring you something of value to yourself.
00:10:05 – 00:15:18
And if you’re lucky enough to be in a situation where you’re working king for the company and you’re performing well you’re connecting with your leader in ways that they feel comfortable with your productivity. Then you can start doing other things give you exposure in the outside community where you can be a subject matter expert in these different networking groups who are association meetings or whatever that might look like so now. You’re building your network outside of your company to your point you may then get the call from someone where they want to recruit you into into their company so you can actually escape the toxic boss. This is the perfect scenario. You know the the way things we want things to to be you can also be networking inside inside your organization in ways that don’t undermine the credibility or reputation of your boss instead shows your ability to provide right value to the company in other ways or in other places which then gives you a stronger position in the first place and what I was thinking in this way is that and we’ve said this another podcast cast is. We should always be looking not that. We’re GONNA leave but that we should be aware I am when opportunity comes. I’m always the type of person I’m all ears eyes and ears open to any opportunity opportunity. That comes my way that also applies to learning new skills. Meaning if I have an impotent leader than I need to maybe get into some more communication heavy the education so that I can actually lead this person the way I want to be led and that might mean things like crucial conversations. I think there’s other things that are similar to that. Were you can learn how to communicate your needs to boss without being angry pissed off needy. These educational opportunities are then giving you do things to talk about with your bus. Hey this is something I learned. And what do you think of that. And so you’re actually having a constructive conversation with your current boss about things that you’re learning joining that may help. I’m also thinking about companies that provide education assistance. In other words they will pay for part or sometimes all of the costs involved in getting a degree different ways for you to get out there and look at ways to really find the satisfaction on your own. It’s not that you’re going to be always just doing whatever you want. There are probably going to be some restrictions. You have the ability to branch out to do something different. And as long as you’re doing things that you can come back to your current boss to say what value is being added by the fact that you’re learning these things. The chances are pretty good. God that is going to serve you well. One of the things I was trying to get at is if I have a new leader. That’s on boarding in now. Minorities are a little bit different than they used to be. I need to take some time and invest in that person episode before I start through that process of discomfort in fear uncertainty. And this isn’t the way we used. I used to do it right. And you don’t WanNa get stock when you get a new leader. You really need to invest the time proactively as part of a Covey’s seven habits. I have those pasted everywhere are now is be proactive if you have a new leader scheduled time on their calendar. Get to know them even though they’re on boarding maybe you could be part of the on boarding experience. It’s an opportunity for you to begin again especially if you have a leader that was either good or bad or whatever. And they didn’t take with them. Well I also think about a time when the group that I was working with got an you later. There was a reorganization in the company and a new leader was assigned to our group and there were a couple of us that were certified in change management methodology. It was my colleague. Actually that started the process in taking our team through the change management process so we looked at what is the awareness of the new. You way of doing things. How aware were we of the values that this person brought into this group as the new leader? What was our awareness awareness? The depth of our awareness of how this is all furthering with the reorganization furthering the goals of the organization. How did we fit in in this new realm the idea of desire did we want to do this and in fact more than half? The team laughed after the reorganization. Those who Stayed were the ones that could then realize in some fashion a way to keep the desire to work there while they improve both their situations and their network so that’s just the first two steps of the methodology. We actually took it all the way through to determine where we stood and that was really helpful actually using on on the job the skills that you had learned a real situation exactly huge huge. Because it’s seven point you’re probably going to need to engage a third party known as human human resources potentially over the people organization or warrant they. How employee assistance program where they have outside counselors? You can talk to whatever it is. It’s important that you all recognize that if this is having an effect on you personally is probably having an effect on your emotional status your ability to cope with even simple things things that you need to exercise your capacity to leverage those third party resources within either within HR which isn’t always helpful.
00:15:18 – 00:20:09
But it somebody you can’t talk to to and sometimes just talking to somebody can make a huge difference I will say having worked in. Hr for as many years. As I have an and I totally advocate four their help many many. HR people are there to help you. I will remind our listeners. That H are often the individuals meanwhile the function Russian of that department is to protect the company. If you feel like you need to talk about things that are going to be uncomplimentary of the company or your leader. I would recommend that you turn to an outside source I to process that so that you can learn the right language or approach so that when you do talk to human resources versus you’re doing it in a way that is not making you look like you’re the enemy of the state because they will have a responsibility to protect the company from liability. That’s their role. Just be careful. Be Mindful of that and an EA he assistance program that is offered. Do take advantage of it. They are an underutilized resource for employees. You may also look at things like exercise. There’s a lot of different coping mechanisms stress. reducer stress reducers baby even even engaging a coach would be held out. If you feel like you got it together mentally but you just need to work through some conversational role play great. You can engage a coach like Scott Scott or myself Were more than happy to help you. You can certainly contact us through the website job seekers radio DOT COM. I know I offer initial consultation. Short one for Free A- As do I think most most counselors do anybody who’s there to be a mentor for those who charged. That’s great for those who don’t that’s great too. I remind myself even though my budget. It is strict that you get paid for. In all of these cases most people get involved in it because they want to be helpful. Do reach out to anyone anyone who puts themselves out as a mentor coach and these could be many different people i. It doesn’t just have to be somebody in your company or a coach like us. It could be somebody through toastmasters and toastmasters is a great place to identify people that are in a capacity to help that way. And I think that’s a conversational. Yeah role playing so forth and you’re meeting meeting people on various levels with various perspectives. And all of them are interested in helping you. I also think about the trade associations there’s usually someone involved that is whether it’s community outreach. Or some sort of learning and development aspect of that association. They’re going to be highly respected and experienced individuals who will also be willing to to mentor or to work as some kind of sounding board for you. Don’t forget at these people are there and they want to be helpful leverage these resources often. You feel like you’re alone person on an island like Tom Hanks and castaway. And it’s just you and Wilson also you know don’t feel like you’re isolated or without capacity to access some of these resources that are available to you and if you’re listening to us you clearly clearly have the ability to get in touch with us. If you’re looking for something other than the kind of coaching that we do. We probably know someone who can help you. So don’t hesitate contact. We’ll put you in the right direction. Ryan point you in the right direction at least something that we haven’t really addressed directly is when you’re feeling frustrated or I angry about the situation of having that impotent leader or maybe you’re outside of work you’re not working right now and you’re trying to avoid getting into another toxic situation always have someone on your side to whom you can vent because if I end up battling all that up and maybe you’re not the type that’s terribly communicative a few. You don’t share your feelings. It is really important. Let me say that again. It is really important that you vent those frustrations to someone else. Not The person person who’s interviewing you and if you have invented it it will come out in an interview. Oh absolutely both of us have done enough interviewing to see this as a regular thing you know the people who are angry and guess what the people who are angry are not the ones that are getting the jobs and they know that you’re angry. Yes you can’t hide these emotions. It better to process assist emotions and a safe environment. Where where you or somebody else or not going to get injured? Don’t pick on your spouse. I don’t think the people Litter closest event or go back to the same person at hammer of all the time. It’s not good either. Yeah reach out to someone. Have make sure that you’ve spoken to that mentor. Especially especially someone that will give you the honest feedback that you need and yeah you’re still sounding kind of angry about this and then talk to some. It may be a professional counselor or a therapist who can help you choose the language that can express your true feelings because you do need to be authentic.
00:20:09 – 00:22:27
which is a topic of a future? PODCAST will be doing. You need to choose language that keeps it from expressing anger or frustration. Because what you’re looking for is is the fit that’s going to keep that frustration from happening. And you don’t want to escalate it. You don’t want to escalate a frustration into anger and something that you’re GonNa regret th there’s also so the idea and I’ve I’ve seen this to where we’re interviewing someone that has legitimate. Gripe but now they’re bringing that into this workplace. Yeah no less resolve that before you get hired. Have that ability the the person to vent your frustrations whatever those feelings are. Be sure that you’re doing that before you get into the networking and interview conversations. Well that does it for this episode of Job Seekers Radio You can get all the show notes and resources sources at Jobseeker’s radio DOT com forward slash zero seven six. We also want to encourage you to download the book that we’ve created it’s called the anatomy of networking in conversation. It’s a free resource all the information that you need in terms of a natural networking compensation and it comes with companion audio. So if you’re the type of person that love listening to Scott Ni- I don’t know who wouldn’t that’s also great so you get the book and get the audio to go with it. Well thank you for joining S. for this episode of Job Seekers Radio Your investment of time and your attention is greatly appreciated. There is a link in the show notes for Itunes and this is the the eight hundred pound gorilla in the podcast space. And we’d really appreciate it if you just take a few seconds took over there and leave a rate which is a five star will up to five stars give us whatever stars you feel are appropriate and then also review which is where you get to type in some information about what this podcast is meant to you and how we can be better in this podcast in the future. Sure you can also give us that feedback on job. Seekers radio DOT COM also. Include your questions. If you have questions that are coming up in your job search perch go ahead and send those to us. We do enjoy answering questions in various podcast that we do. Well I’m Andrew and I’m Scott and in the words of Bob Farrell of Farrell’s ice cream parlors inspiring self-confidence starts by taking away your employees fear of failure or loss of thanks.