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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.
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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.”

Tell Us What You Think

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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10 Comments on "3 Crazy Things Managers Say and How to Respond"

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Mike
Guest

I did had this type 1 manager. Day by Day is suffering. I invited him for a discussion but nothing change. So “Why not make yourself desperate”. And finally I simply walk away (quit that job).

Craig
Guest

I had a combination of 1 and 3. He would avoid everything at all costs until he would finally explode in an expletive filled rant, usually stating “facts” that were completely irrelevant to the item being discussed and showing his total ignorance of any conversation(s) previously held. Our Senior “leadership” wouldn’t even acknowledge his failures. They were too busy trying to offshore our jobs to care. After 3+ years of him and these “productivity meetings”, which consistently degraded into shouting matches, I finally just walked out after 18 years with the company.

Houndsucker
Guest

Yep… Sometimes we all have to act like Tony Montana in his first job… Rip off our dish washing garment and literally throw it into the face of the owner whom abusive to us and yell back, “..you wash your own dishes I have to look after my investments..”.
Ola.. Ola.. Entra, Entra.. hello Hector and Ms. Marta…
So… Tell me, you got the stuff= skills, sure I got the skills.. You guys have the money.. 401k, bonds.. Roth IRA’s health insurance..
And don’t ask me where I’m from..
I’m only interested in where I’m going in the future.

Houndsucker
Guest

I could tell you but then I’d have to… walk off the job…
That’s the only way mgrs will begin to see consequencias for acting like a pair of extras in the 1980’s Hollywood movie Thirteen Going on Thirty.. The mgr. who complained of corporate constantly wanting to play with his own balls.
Simple tell the mgr. either act normal or I’ll vote for Adolph Donald Hitler in 39 days.. There you go.

Milly
Guest
I had a manager like #3. Actually a couple of them. The first one did NOT take my overtures to get work done well… it wasn’t just the attitude of why should I be trying to fervently done, other managers noticed and apparently got on his case – so he took work away from me but never bothered to do it anyway, and apparently I was blamed for that. Then he would say “I’m getting to that conversation” but never did, resulting in code not checked in before contractor left, standards dropped to the point the Operation staff refused to… Read more »
Adain
Guest
I am currently working with a Manager who is completely insecure about her job and makes my life miserable every single day. What makes it worse is i always made sure i picked up a better job based on the Manager so that i would be able to work better but sadly here my judgement failed she not mixed her personal and professional life but makes it worse by Demotivating me every single time, no appreciation constant remarks, negating my bonus percentage by giving me unrealistic targets like reduce offer decline by 100%^ absolutely pathetic what they dont realize as… Read more »
Slider
Guest
I have had some good managers, a great manager, and unfortunately one of those ones who I was eventually able to oulast until he got fired. He had a Dr Jeckel & Hyde personality. Some people could do no wrong while others were constantly berated and we’re told they couldn’t do anything right. If he messed up, he would say let’s keep this our little secret. After participating in some company sponsored communication and personality profile classes,he told me that maybe we didn’t have room for my style and that I should be like a couple of his favorites. Let’s… Read more »
stellamarie
Guest
Although my direct manager has some control issues, she’s pretty easy to just ignore and keep on top of my own work, but her behavior doesn’t begin to compare to another manager in our office, whom I have to team with to complete certain customer projects. This guy is a game show host. He doesn’t give a flying fart if he gets any work done at all—always joking with everyone in the office and wasting everyone’s time. Eventually, he’ll come under the gun from HIS manager, then he’ll breeze through a big pile of paperwork without really reading it through,… Read more »
Sam
Guest

Flying off the handle…? try flying stapler to your head! worst Director ever. We started to get complaints after a month into hiring her every other morning from about 3-5 people until she got fired 3 months after. Then HRLand was at peace again.

Mike
Guest

Good for you SAM and others. Be honest, without top management awareness… worst mgrs only get worse.

There is a mgr being protected by department head. The grades (I did) get changing at least 3 within 9 months IN & Out….. What I heard… known HR-Agency basically put this company on bad list and not willing to help recruitment. Head hunter contacted me for reference I simply refuse.

5 yrs after resign today, he was promoted to Director grade last year…. Nobody willing to work for him… but promoted… Crazy Manager & his Manager…. management

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