1. You developed anxiety. Your heart races before a meeting and you dread any interaction. On one hand, you want to sound confident and not let their quick temper affect you; on the other hand, you tend to give up and agree with any point they make simply because you have no strength left to make yourself heard.
2. You started to doubt your performance: are you good enough? Is your role too much for your skills? But then you remember your track record: you work with many stakeholders and you do have results. Senior management is satisfied with your work – you make things happen, you step in, you put in extra effort and add value to your team and your company.
3. Your word carries no weight. When trying to convey an idea, you are interrupted with a blatant “no” before fully articulating your case. Every time you flag risks, these are strongly disregarded. If they materialise, you are invited to self-reflect on how you can prevent them next time. If you ask for advice or a solution, you are responded with an angry grunt: “it’s your job to find solutions”. You feel burdened and alone.
4. You are not supported during meetings with other stakeholders. It seems you two are not in the same boat. Your manager fails to hear you or to stand up for your team. At times, you choose silence over feedback. As the saying goes, “leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say” (Andy Stanley).
5. You lack direction. Your experience no longer helps you make a decision and your inner compass leads you astray: when to say “Yes”?! when to say “No”?! Every time you say “No”, your boss will incline towards “Yes” and vice versa. Sometimes, they can change their mind various times and increase confusion through a lack of structure and consistency.
6. You are thriving in their absence. You are motivated and able to set things in motion. You work, you have fun, you build connections and trust. Conversations flow smoothly and you invest more energy into your work than in trying to overcome anxiety, doubt or heated arguments.
7. You are google-ing how to deal with a toxic manager and you think quite often about this quote: “people don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers”.
You don’t need further validation. Remember you deserve more. Stand up for yourself or just leave.