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3 Crazy Things Managers Say and How to Respond

Not everyone gets along with their boss. In fact, bad managers are the number one reason people leave their jobs. So, before your difficult manager gets the better of you, let’s take a look at some of the crazy, yet shockingly common, things managers say and how you can respond — other than turning and walking out the door.
things managers say
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  1. “I can’t take this &^%#* anymore!”

A manager with a bad temper might be just about the worst kind of manager. Being able to maturely and effectively regulate moods is one of the core demands the title of manager places on a person. People want to know what to expect from their boss. When their behavior is wildly unpredictable, it has an impact on the organization as a whole as well as the individuals associated with it.

If your boss is prone to flying off the handle, it can be hard to know how to respond. The dynamics of the management relationship make it difficult. First of all, if you’re being bullied or harassed, you should turn to HR or a lawyer; that kind of treatment is never OK.

But, assuming your manager’s temper doesn’t cross the line, you can try responding another way. Taking responsibility for your part in things, or trying to set up a meeting to discuss these issues at another time are a few potential solutions. However, sometimes it’s also just a good idea to walk away. Do not give your manager the satisfaction of your attention. Sometimes the most mature, self-protective, and all-around best response is simply not to respond at all. See how that silence is received before determining what to do next.

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  1. “I can’t give you much of a raise because your salary is already too close to mine.”

A recent Forbes article explored the question of how to deal with this particular salary discussion successfully. The problem here is between your manager and her manager, not between the two of you. If she has an issue with her salary, she should do something about that, not cap your wages in order to make herself feel better about her own. But, you can’t say that to your manager … at least, not exactly. You should advocate for yourself, and do some real soul-searching in regards to whether or not this company is a good fit for you.

But, before you make any bold moves, Liz Ryan, the author of the piece, suggests you ask your manager one last big question: “What does this mean for the future?” You are entitled to understand the big picture here, and you can then make decisions accordingly. Ask questions when your manager says something crazy about your salary, and be sure to get to the bottom of things. You have a right to understand your salary and your manager’s intentions about your future with the organization.

  1. “Hey, what are you so worried about?! Just relax.”

There are different types of difficult bosses out there, and one of the most aggravating is the lazy kind. You’re running around trying to get a ton of work done, meanwhile your manager is taking hour-long lunches and having cheerful chats in the break-room, seemingly for the bulk of the day. When you try to get some guidance, or maybe even some support, this type of manager acts like you’re uptight and simply need to relax. Meanwhile, the extra work that they’re leaving undone is trickling down to you.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking your work seriously.

“Someone needs to be the adult, so it might as well be you,” writes Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha!, in a blog post about dealing with difficult managers like this. “Step up, and be equally cheerful but firm: Explain that you need answers and that the work cannot be accomplished until you have them. Your boss will hopefully realize his laziness is costing the organization and will start behaving more responsibly. Your co-workers will be silently celebrating your courage as well.”

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How have you responded to crazy things managers have said to you? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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