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Bad Managers

In the face of poor management, sometimes the best you can do is to look at the bright side of things. Yes, it may be a bit difficult to believe, but you can pick up a few life lessons from bad bosses. Think about it: the experience, no matter how unpleasant it is, encourages you to always be on your toes and to put in the effort to ensure your life, your goals, and your pursuits keep moving forward.

As the time-honored adage goes, experience is the best teacher. And in the case of poor management, the experience is exactly what you need to become not just a better person, but someday, a better leader. With that, here are 7 things that you can learn from working under bad managers:

1. Knowledge Does Not Always Translate to Good Management

It’s so easy to get awestruck of your manager after finding out about the long list of credentials and work experience they have under their sleeves. However, a thick resume and an impressive CV does not always reflect the true skills and talent of a person.

Remember, knowledge can only go so far, and this is especially true when you have no idea how to apply it. In other words, it is just there, stuck in your head. Because many hiring personnel base their decisions heavily on what is written on paper, they fail to properly gauge the skill set of a job candidate. As a consequence, employees realize that no matter how smart and knowledgeable their managers are, they still lack the ability to actually motivate and rally the team towards success.

2. Decision-Making Skills are Important

After experiencing recurring failures as a result of decisions, or delays from having to deal with indecisive managers, you will eventually develop good decision-making skills. There will be a number of times when you will have to rely on your own judgment about a matter because it is the best option you have. Either you decide on what to do or risk not reaching the deadline.

There are also managers who refuse to change their opinions even after their initial plan has already failed. In order to save a project, you will have to come up with a decision on your own and handle the problem according to what you think is right.

3. Self-Leadership Helps You Keep Things in Check

Because you are mostly left in charge to make your own decisions, it is not a surprise that you will also develop self-leadership skills. Self-leadership is the ability to manage your own time, energy, effort, feelings, and even how you react to a certain situation.

You are also more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. For example, what are the tasks that you excel in and what activities do you find challenging? Which tasks are you good at the most? By becoming more self-aware you are able to make better decisions and even learn how to properly prioritize the tasks in your pipeline.

4. There is Something Good About Everything You Do

You may sometimes find yourself pausing in the middle of work just to try and calm down after a particularly grueling meeting or after a heated disagreement with your manager. Working under poor management will make you feel bad, and constantly getting exposed to bad vibes forces you to try and focus on the good things. But don’t worry, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s right, optimism is one of the best things you can learn from having to work under a terrible boss. A positive outlook can help you overcome many challenges thrown at work or in life in general. For instance, losing an opportunity can be viewed as a learning experience rather than an embarrassing loss.

5. Building Healthy Relationships Goes a Long Way

Believe it or not, it’s possible for bad managers to actually unite a team! Why? Because your team shares the same sentiment, everyone can relate to each other and develop a stronger sense of camaraderie. After all, if your manager is being unhelpful, then the only people you can turn to is your own teammates who are most likely also in need of assistance.

A healthy relationship or a strong bond with others helps you become more open and social. It can also help you develop good communication skills! By being aware of what each other is going through, you have a clear knowledge of what each person needs, what kind of treatment others would not appreciate, and how best to approach a person depending on their personality and mood.

6. There is Always Room for Self-Growth

Perhaps one of the things that people who work under bad managers go through is getting blamed for mistakes. While it is definitely not a good practice that anyone should tolerate, this experience will help you learn the value of accountability.

Each person in a team is assigned a task and is responsible for it. It is their job to make sure that everything that is related to their work will go smoothly as it can affect other people’s workflows as well. By demanding accountability, we can be pinning the blame on others, pointing figures, and sparking arguments. Accountability is not just about looking for a person to call out, but it is about realizing mistakes and learning from them to avoid making those wrongs again in the future.

7. You Learn to Accept Yourself For Who You Are

Being self-aware is not just about knowing your strengths and weaknesses like what self-leadership is. By being self-aware, you also accept that you are not perfect and that you are also prone to making mistakes. It is easy to demand accountability from others, but it takes a lot of courage to admit that you are wrong. Self-awareness lets you align your beliefs and values with your actions and decisions.

Final Thoughts on Learning From Bad Managers

No one deserves to be subjected to poor management but finding yourself in such a tight spot can sometimes be unavoidable. At the end of the day, you still have some key takeaways that you can learn from. These life lessons are also helping you develop leadership skills that bad managers typically lack.

Becoming a manager is not for everyone and while it is true that knowledge does not determine leadership skills and talent, an experience such as yours can. Before anyone can become a leader who can properly manage their team, they first must have a good understanding of how a team should be led. These skills are honed from experience and no books can teach you that.

Till next time,


Sumit is the founder of Deploy Yourself; a firm dedicated to helping as many people as possible regain their personal power and confidence, so they can reach their highest potential. To learn more about Sumit and his efforts you can visit his site at