Chris Williams 0:03
Hello, listeners. It’s Chris Williams of the Badass Agile Podcast. Today I want to declare war on the bad manager. Someone in The Forge told me a story the other day. He’s contemplating a career change. And he lost his passion for the company he worked for. And the way he, the way he put it was, he was actually sad, to be happy to walk away. That is to say, a place that he wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving mere months ago. Now, because of his development in the forge, and because of some environmental changes at the office, he’s actually excited to take on something new, and he doesn’t feel bad about leaving.

Chris Williams 0:51
And the way he put it, he put a nice little finish on he said, it just goes to show how a bad manager can cause so much damage. Isn’t that true? What about you? Have you got a bad manager? Well, how come they can behave so badly? Yet… Nothing ever happens? How come? They’re always getting promoted, instead of getting corrected? How’s this possible? I mean, I’ve known tons of people like this in my career, people who have seemingly no people skills. People who seem bitter, angry, possessive. They play games, they play politics. And they essentially take all the fun, they pull all the steam out of the work that we’re proud to do. How come this happens? Well, I think one of the reasons is that we put up with it don’t we? We choose to live with it. We let them get away with their bad behavior. Even if we try to get help, even if we try to draw attention to them in a way that brings about their bad behavior, even if we try to deliver brave and courageous feedback to them directly, hoping that they’ll see the light of day. You and I know where this goes. They never see the light of day. If they did, they wouldn’t be bad managers. So we choose to live with it. Because what choice have we got? If they’re delivering results, if they’re getting people more productive, they’re increasing revenue, they’re meeting their numbers, the chances are good, they can go an awfully long time before anyone takes a close look at them and says, hey, something’s going on here.

Chris Williams 2:54
Maybe it’s because we just don’t value the way that our leadership team interacts with people. We don’t pay attention to the impact that they have in their lives. Think about if you have a terrible boss, you’re bringing that home to your kids to your cat, to your family. You’re taking this with you everywhere you go. It’s peeling years off of your life, like dead skin after a sunburn. Is that okay? Are they entitled to that? Don’t they need to account for the destruction that they caused? Don’t they need to account for the unhappiness that they cause? Don’t they need to account for the damage that they do? I think they do. And I think it’s our duty to oppose it. We are duty-bound to make a difference. We are duty-bound to change the bad manager not to change the person but to change the role to change the legacy of the bad manager. We spend all this time in the Forge trying to become better leaders, service-oriented leaders, ethical leaders. People who influence not with spears and sticks and pointy things, but with dignity, with respect with passion, with values-based leadership.

Chris Williams 4:21
We’re looking for leaders that are heroes. And heroes don’t push other people down so they can feel big. It’s upon us to change the model because if the upper upper management isn’t listening, if these people can’t be pushed aside, if they can’t have their bad behavior corrected if they’re not willing to learn if they’re not willing to grow, then they have to go. Now that doesn’t mean we to try to get them fired. So okay, how do we try to oppose it if it’s our duty to oppose these characters, How do we do it? Number one, there’s two things I want you to do. Number one, decide What is your ethos? What is your stand?

Chris Williams 5:04
The first thing you have to recognize is adopt the mindset of for yourself, I will not live by somebody else’s rules. No person has dominion over me. I don’t have to take your orders, I don’t have to put up with your bad behavior, and you have no entitlement. To create negative impact, negative energy in my life. You just don’t. So the first thing you do is declare that you won’t live by somebody else’s rules, you are not at the mercy of their bad behavior, not at the mercy of their bad attitude, you decide. Then, I want you to decide on your ethos for your teams. This requires that you take the superhero stance. I will not allow or turn a blind eye to abuse when people are hard on other people. When they’re negative when they’re abusive. When they berate people, when they make fun of people, when they disrespect their talents, much less their basic human dignity, they are always in the wrong point blank. And it won’t happen on my watch. I’m their protector, I’m their defender, this is the duty part. This is where you stand between your team and danger.

Chris Williams 6:28
Now the second thing I want you to do, after you decide on your ethos, claim the mindset that you are in charge of what happens to you. You can’t control what another person does, but you control what you do about it. So the second thing you do, after you decide on your ethos your stand is decide to get skilled, learn the art of conflict, learn the art of offense and defense, competition, of going sometimes to battle. Learn the art of agreement and disagreement, the art of negotiation. Learn the basics of human motivation. What causes people to behave the way we do.

Chris Williams 7:11
When we see a bully when we see a bad manager when we see someone who is nestled in ego-based responses. And they’re really easy to identify, aren’t they? You try to give them feedback. And they freak out. You’re wrong, you must be wrong, just can’t possibly be right. I’m above reproach, I’m above feedback. I’m above criticism. Well that’s ego-based leadership. If they’re having a bad day, you’re having a bad day. That’s all ego. It comes from a place of deep uncertainty, discomfort with who they are, discomfort with what they’re capable of. Discomfort with their own purpose. So learn the basics of human motivation. When you see bad behavior in action. What are you really seeing? The first step is to realize it’s never about you. It’s always about them.

Chris Williams 8:11
Then you need to get skilled in the art of influence. Now we do this not so that you can educate the bullies, it’s so that you can stand up to them. It’s so that you have great tools in your toolkit that you can practice and deploy so you can win because victory speaks. If you can’t be knocked over, if you can’t be pushed around, bullies remember that, and they go and look for easier prey somewhere else. But until you decide on your ethos, until you decide to get skilled, we’re propagating we’re allowing we’re opening the gate for the bad manager to exist and persist in their current state. And I’m here to tell you, we owe ourselves better.

Chris Williams 9:00
This is at the heart of bad culture. This is at the heart of anxiety. This is at the heart of people saying forget it. I just go work someplace else I can find better opportunities elsewhere. I have no loyalty here. If I’m going to be treated like dirt. I’m not going to stick around. So as leaders, I think we have a duty to expose and stand up to the bad manager. No more of this being polite and being patient and being empathetic when someone is treating you poorly. We must set up boundaries and we do it with strength and we do it with certainty. We do it with kindness because that’s superior firepower. That’s how you win when you don’t reduce yourself to their level but you transcend and you ascend and you bring superior skill to this conflict. Man, you can make real change.

Chris Williams 10:05
That’s my time on this one guys. Thanks for tuning in, put your comments below. What do you think? Do you have a bad manager? What are you doing about it? What could you try that you haven’t tried yet? Can you claim it as your duty to make a difference?