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Working with a demanding manager

working with a demanding manager Thom Dennis discusses

An in-depth nationwide study conducted by revealed a surprising 42% of participants hold the belief that their workplace is toxic. Similarly, the Society of Human Resources Management found a comparable trend in the United States, with one out of every four working Americans expressing a sense of apprehension about going to work.

Poor leadership and demanding managers are often at the heart of a toxic organisation and can have a huge impact both on the individual worker’s experience and their self-esteem, as well as the productivity and culture of the business.  Thom Dennis, CEO of culture and leadership specialists, Serenity in Leadership discusses the issue in detail.

The consequences of a demanding manager

Many poor or demanding managers show a lack of interest in diversity and inclusion, which presents as prejudice, bias, harassment, microaggressions and bullying. They may also display a lack of consideration for boundaries by reaching out after work hours, requiring you to cancel planned vacations, or disrupting your breaks at work. Burnout due to overwhelming time and workload impositions is often associated with having an overly demanding manager. Feeling trapped in your current position or being overlooked for opportunities for personal growth and further training prospects are commonplace. Poor communication and a lack of clarity frequently indicate a challenging managerial style.

What to do about it

Dealing with an excessively exigent manager can be tricky, but there are several steps you can take to manage the situation and maintain your well-being whilst being professional.

Reflect if the demands are truly excessive or if there might be miscommunication or misunderstandings or unclear expectations that can be resolved. Do the stated priorities make sense? Confirm with your manager the agreed boundaries for your work hours, availability, and workload. Equally, clarify your tasks and their prioritisation and agree on roughly how long it will take to complete.  Keep track of your tasks, projects, and accomplishments and share them with your manager. Know that it is reasonable to say no if you are already at maximum capacity. Present your case with evidence of your current workload and responsibilities. Have an open, calm and professional conversation with your manager about your workload and the challenges you’re facing and offer up some proactive solutions.

Ensure you have a healthy work-life balance to relax, recharge and get a different perspective on things. If the situation becomes overwhelming, seek advice, guidance and support from colleagues, and mentors, or if needed officially, escalate the issue to higher management or HR, following the proper channels.

Thom Dennis also writes about how to achieve employee visibility.