Question: My manager is the boss from hell. “Cheryl” chews out employees on a regular basis, blames the staff for her mistakes, and takes credit for others’ accomplishments. She disagrees with everything I say and rejects any idea that I propose. I believe the only reason I’m still employed is that my results make her look good.
All the executives above Cheryl have a similar leadership style, so they aren’t any help. The real surprise is that this is a nonprofit religious organization. It’s hard to believe that a church group would tolerate such an evil manager. I plan to quit as soon as I find another position, but that hasn’t been easy. Do you have any advice?
Answer: Sadly, history has demonstrated that having a religious affiliation does not necessarily make one a good person. Although spiritual leaders might be expected to become inspirational managers, that is not always the case. So Cheryl is not an anomaly.
Based on your description, however, this problem seems to extend well beyond your nasty boss. If everyone in management shares these traits, the higher-ups may be trying to replicate themselves by promoting people with similar personalities. In that case, you are probably working in a toxic organization.
Since this poisonous culture is unlikely to change, your best hope is to accelerate the search for a more normal place to work. In the meantime, reduce your stress by disengaging emotionally. Focus on your tasks, avoid arguing with your boss, and don’t bother making suggestions that will inevitably be rejected. Remember that as soon as you exit this sick little office, nothing these people do will matter anymore.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of Secrets to Winning at Office Politics. Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com. Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter, @OfficeCoach.