How do I handle a horrible practice manager?

What to do when your practice staff are left reeling by a disagreeable employee?

This is an edited version of an Q&A written by Graham White, health sector HR director, and first published in Independent Nurse

Question: We have recently merged with another local practice. Everyone used to get on so well but now the new practice manager makes everyone feel too intimidated to talk to each other. The manager only talks to me to give instructions or to tell me off. I am really fed up, and considering leaving; is there anything else I should do?

Answer: Unfortunately, horrible bosses are common and many good staff leave organisations because of how they are treated by their managers. I am sure many of us have been caught in a similar situation. It’s not that these bosses are openly hostile or rude – they just don’t make the workplace a nice place to be.

Having a bad boss can directly affect health and, for many dedicated nurses in primary care, it can become a patient safety issue; up to three quarters of staff being managed badly will experience workplace stress.

The first thing to do is accept that your manager doesn’t lead you well, so don’t allow yourself to be a victim.

You have spent a lot of time building your career for one bad boss to ruin it. Stay calm and try to accept the positive parts of the manager’s input, no matter how few.

Don’t be afraid to ask your manager for a short meeting to make sure you are focusing on what they want you to do. Even bad managers are delighted with this approach as it saves them time and effort.

Regularly let your boss know what you are doing, what’s going on, what has worked well and if you have taken their advice and seen the benefit of it; this will reduce that feeling of your manager being on your back all the time.

Finally, when you’re away from work, let off steam through relaxation, exercise, talking with friends or having a good night out.

When it comes down to it, you need to determine if you can live in the situation your boss creates. If you can, use my tips to help; if you can’t, you can always resign to give yourself a chance for a fresh start.

Just make sure you get another job first.

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