In January of 1990, I started my first business as a budding entrepreneur. I provided career advisory services to private clients, many of whom were senior managers in their organizations. The reason my clients came to me was that they were at a personal inflection point–they were dissatisfied with their current role or organization and needed to find a different way forward. As we started our work together, I began to realize that often the source of my clients’ career angst was rooted in a poor relationship with their managers.
Many described what it was like to work for a bad manager. Some worked for bullies. Others struggled with an ineffective and mediocre boss. No matter what kind of lousy manager my clients experienced, I saw the toll they faced in terms of stress, anxiety, frustration and in some cases even despair.
At times I was able to work with a client and help them reframe their situation, and through the process, they were able to re-establish a positive working relationship with their manager. In other cases, some clients asked to be moved to a different department with a different manager, citing a personality clash as the reason for the change. Confronting the tension in the relationship in an open and mature manner usually led to a successful transition to another area.