What to do if Your Boss is a “Bad Leader”


Not every boss will be your favorite, but that doesn’t make them terrible leaders. However, every so often you may find yourself working under someone who fits that bill. What do you do when your manager doesn’t know how to lead your team to success?

First, you need to ascertain why your boss is not the leader he or she needs to be. Is it because your boss does not have the disposition to take leadership roles? Are they the kind of person that is characteristically more a follower? Are they so eager to please employees that they fail to take firm stands when necessary? Or is their lack of leadership initiative due to a lack of caring or investment?

If it is a case of the former, you may find yourself needing to step into that role of leadership to subtly help your manager become a better leader. The key here is “subtly,” as you do not want to be seen as publically undermining your boss. Remember that your manager was hired for a reason and whether or not they perform their job well, it will reflect poorly on you if you undermine them.

Instead, try giving your boss subtle leadership cues. When doing so, phrase these cues as questions, as though you’re looking for advice or confirmation from them. Instead of telling your manager that they should have instructed everyone review quarterly sales, respectfully ask if he would like the team to conduct their usual review. Over time, they will learn from these prompts and hopefully begin to take control themselves.

If your manager is not a leader because they just simply don’t care or are lazy, you’ll have to be your own leader as well as a leader to your team. Again, this doesn’t mean undermining your boss. Instead, think of what sort of direction you and your team need. Then set about doing the things that need to be done. While it is tempting to do nothing and blame the inactivity on your boss’s lack of initiative, it is more important that you continue to be a productive team member. In the end, this kind of manager doesn’t last long, as his/her lack of enthusiasm and leadership usually make impact the dealership’s bottom line in several ways, leading the top brass to replace them. When it comes time to find someone new, if you have taken the initiative and shown leadership skills during his or her tenure, you’ll be perfectly set up to get their job or at least a promotion.

In some cases, the manager is so ineffective neither of these strategies will be effective. If this is the case,  you may need to go above the manager’s head and report his or her misconduct to higher-ups. This can take a great deal of courage and will be a lot easier–as well as more effective–if you don’t go alone. If your complaint is supported by several other employees, then there won’t be a chance that your initiative is seen as a personal vendetta. In these cases, you will also want to document the types of behaviors that the boss has been displaying. Presenting specific examples of poor leadership will go a lot further than generalities.

Again, there will be some bosses you just simply don’t like, just as there are some people you probably don’t like when you first meet. It could be their voice annoys you, or their mannerisms make you tick. If that’s your situation, you just have to suck it up. However, if your manager is not a leader and is not able to perform his or her duties as the boss of your dealership, it is important to find strategies to make your job work despite their shortcomings.