There are countless articles available about how you should prepare for an interview, the factors you need to consider before making a move in your career and etc. However there is one point that is not really focused on that often.
Who is going to be your manager?
You can have the best job and work environment (with ping pong tables and bean bags) but without the right manager, you're not going to reach your full potential.
We all have worked in different environments and have seen how managers have different approaches, techniques, personalities and expectations.
Here is a list of manager types to be cautious of:
“The Devil Wears Prada” type
If you haven’t seen the movie, you should rent it now!
This manager type has absolutely no regard for their staff, they believe that they are always right, and it is only their way or the highway. Sounds fun doesn’t it?
Hollywood often portrays these types as pushing someone to become a better version of themselves however anyone who has been in that experience knows that the reality is very different as their narcissistic traits will keep them trapped in a narrow view incapable of receiving new ideas.
Working with this type of management can often be like an abusive relationship. They'll aim to make you think no one else is like them and if you leave, it will be your loss.
They will eventually churn and burn through their team and look for new recruits, often blatantly in front of the people who are still there.
Unfortunately, these type of managers are usually charismatic and can be deceiving in first encounters. But don’t worry, at the end of the article I will give a few tips on how to unveil this before you accept a job.
“Zero Care Factor” type
These are the managers who do not even know why THEY are in their job.
When you talk to them about the business, they don’t seem to have any interests, motives or passion about their work.
In many ways, it feels like they died inside a long time ago and you're just talking to the shell that is going through the motions.
This is bad because, if they don't care about their role, what the hell makes you think they're going to care about you in yours?
This situation is a bit rare, but if you come across it, you know you should walk away. You won't get the support you need because they're not invested in offering it to you.
“I Need a Valium” type
They will come into the meeting rushed. They speak fast and seem to be distracted even when you are talking to them.
The may even constantly remind you about how busy they are and they seem to just emit an area of anxiety that is, sadly, infectious.
If you were to step back and become the observer, you would swear that they were overwhelmed and didn't have a clue as to what they were actually doing. The sad thing is, you might be right.
These are the type who were often promoted up through the ranks to a position that is out of their depth and they have not been given the proper support or training to do their job effectively. As a result, they're incapable of actually being able to even think clearly, which means achieving goals and targets let alone a team of people is going to be so much harder.
They are more likely to have unrealistic expectations from themselves which has resulted in their current state. Beware, as those expectations could be projected on to you once you start and there will be no way back.
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.
But let’s not be so cynical. There are many amazing managers out there who you would want to work with.
They are the ones who:
have visions and are interested in other people’s visions as well.
lead by example.
have the best interest of the business and employees at heart at the same time.
would like to see the business and employees grow with each other.
sit with their employees regularly to understand where they are at.
ask for employees’ input.
are welcoming to new ideas.
provide training opportunities.
How do you qualify a manager?
Once you have gone through the interviews and there is an interest from both parties, it is well within your rights to ask if you can meet with the team.
This is when you can ask your potential new colleagues the following questions:
How would you describe your manager?
How often do you have one on one meetings with your manager to see how you can either grow or enhance your performance?
How long have you been here and why are you staying here?
What training opportunities have you had in the last one year?
These are all open ended questions that can help you gain a clear understanding of the environment that you are stepping into.
Facing the inevitable
No matter how much you investigate, we are inevitably going to find ourselves in positions where we are managed by people who are not a match for us.
When that happens, be sure to take care of yourself as your first priority. Do what you can to destress and to release the tension that you may carry from the experience. Consider what it is that you will need from a role to make you content and put an action plan into place to achieve that goal. Even having that goal to work towards is going to help shake the negative experience you're having to face.
When you're feeling capable of finding new opportunities, the new opportunities will come to you.