Coaching and Mentoring : Triumph Over The Manager From Hell

Wendy Y. Bailey is a Personal and Business Coach. Affectionately called, "Wendy Y" by her business friends and associates, she has been coaching her entire adult life. She’s a lifelong learner having spent several years in increasingly responsible management positions in the sales, marketing, telecommunications and information technology industries.

As a corporate employee and manager for Coca-Cola, Wachovia Bank Corporation, Alltel Information Services and BellSouth, she extended her passion for learning to co-workers, colleagues and employees. Wendy believes that people truly make the organization. Contact Wendy on or visit her website

Whether your manager is unreasonably demanding or they are apparently incompetent or they have no people skills, it can feel like you’re working with the manager from hell! As tough as it sounds, your task is to focus on getting your job done…period.

The important concept to remember is that you have total responsibility and authority for your response in the situation. Once you fully understand your power to choose, you can be clear and comfortable making the best decision for your work environment.

Here are a few other things to remember :

No one can make you look incompetent or foolish or feel bad without your permission. You allow yourself to look incompetent or foolish or to feel bad. One of my “from hell” managers would burst into shouting and flailing her arms. Once she finished throwing her tantrum ( and without responding to her outburst ), I would calmly recommend the next course of action to move the situation to resolution. Just because she was out of control didn’t mean I had to be.

You’re not the only one who understands you’re working with the manager from hell. I discovered that everyone recognized the same not-so-wonderful incompetence in that manager that I did. More importantly, I was able to observe their interactions to determine what worked well and what did not. It doesn’t mean I gossiped about the situation or the manager with my co-workers. Instead, I listened and learned from their encounters. 

The behavior of the manager from hell is not a reflection of your professionalism. In the case of the tantrum-throwing manager, she was the one who appeared foolish and incompetent – not me. Your challenge is to perform despite their lack of professionalism. You have a true opening to practice your skill as a communicator, facilitator, problem-solver and leader. Yours in an excellent opportunity to showcase your composure, competence and capability.

Your behavior IS a reflection of your professionalism. In fact, you have a responsibility to set an example of genuine professionalism. Seek out the support you need to prevent the situation from festering inside of you. Exercise, take time out for yourself and enjoy your life away from the job. In this way, you’re balancing the scales and preparing yourself at every turn for the difficulty of facing this manager day in and day out.

The bottom line is that everyone isn’t cut out to be a manager. Unfortunately, you cannot always choose your manager or your work environment. However, you can begin to triumph over the manager from hell…it IS possible when you recognize and embrace your power to make it happen !

© Copyright Wendy Bailey 2004

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