Four Signs Your Manager Is Damaging Your Career


Is your manager holding you back? To succeed in today’s workplaces, you need to be able to work well with others to achieve results – this includes your manager.

A large part of succeeding at work is having the right social skills to influence, network and manage office politics. These social skills are becoming increasingly necessary for all jobs.

According to the October 2016 Pew Research Center Report jobs requiring strong social skills are predicted to grow by 8.1% between 2014-2024 versus 4.4% for jobs with below average social skills.

The ability to communicate, lead and work well with others is essential for long term career success. But what happens when you have these skills and your boss doesn’t?

Your manager’s performance directly affects you. Your next promotion, pay rise or career opportunity depends on your leader’s ability to influence and persuade others of your capability.

To be effective at your job you need to manage your manager. This starts with being able to spot how they are limiting your career advancement. Here are four signs your manager is holding you back.

Your Manager Calls All The Shots

Do you just do as you are told, even if you don’t agree? Managers who lack strong social skills use their hierarchical position as ‘the boss’ to tell others what to do rather than working together to achieve results. This creates a workplace environment ruled by fear where people can’t speak up, hindering their creativity and problem solving.

These managers follow the rules and expect you to do the same. They believe you have to earn your career advancement by simply being in your role for a long period of time.

Your performance is a result of the hours spent at the office rather than your achievements and talent. This hurts your career success and development since you are never given the opportunity to learn, take risks or make decisions.

You Can’t Trust Your Manager

If you find yourself questioning your manager’s motivations and intentions on a daily basis you probably work for someone you don’t trust.

Managers that are not authentic often lack credibility because they will say anything, in order to get you to do what they want. These ‘empty promises’ work in the short term but over the long term they can erode your job satisfaction as it becomes clear that your performance is unlikely to get rewarded.

Without trust it is very hard to build meaningful relationships with a manager and gain their genuine support with your career development.

Your Manager Can’t Do The Basics

Can your manager do your job? If you find yourself regularly explaining basic parts of your job to your boss, they probably don’t have the technical skills needed to be your manager.

Without the necessary technical capability managers can become insecure and defensive because they know you are more capable.

Ultimately this will limit your career because you can’t learn anything new from these leaders and they will block you from moving on because they need your skills to help the survive.

Your Manager Is Kept Out Of The Loop

Your job satisfaction, performance and career development are dependent on your manager’s ability to get ahead. If your manager can’t navigate office politics, they won’t have the right networks, alliances and support to achieve outcomes and help you succeed.

Not understanding the office environment means these managers have a hard time translating performance into rewards. These leaders often find themselves reacting to decisions because they are not ‘in the know’, making it impossible to push their own agenda or advance your career.

Managing your boss is critical because your success is essentially linked to their success. Being able to diagnose how your boss is damaging your advancement will help you identify the right solution to manage them and take back control of your career.