Clueless Boss? 4 Signs Your Manager is Completely Out of Touch

A great job can cause you to wake up with a smile each morning or it can lead to sleepless nights and an overwhelming urge to send your boss that expletive-laden email you’ve been saving in drafts. If you’re like most workers, you’re experiencing never-ending frustration and counting the days until you find your next job. Unfortunately, a bad boss can make work unbearable. If your interactions with your manager are often marked by tension, poor communication, and a lack of concern, you’re likely dealing with a boss who has no idea how to manage. Here are some of the top signs your manager is completely out of touch.

1. Your manager doesn’t know what you do

Businessman looking at his laptop
Confused manager |

Have you ever asked your supervisor for direction and been met with a blank stare? If your supervisor doesn’t understand the intricacies of your job, this lack of understanding has the potential to make your work life very challenging. One basic requirement for managing others is having some knowledge of what your employees do each day. Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of career website Human Workplace, said it’s your boss’s responsibility to understand your basic job responsibilities. “If your boss doesn’t know what you do, your job isn’t important to him or her…How can you grow working for someone who has no idea what you do all day long, when it’s his or her job to know and to care?” said Ryan in her Forbes column.

2. You’re given impossible deadlines

Overworked employee
Overworked |

Does your supervisor give you a difficult assignment and then expect you to have it done in half the time it would normally take? An out-of-touch manager will toss one assignment after another onto your desk and expect it to be done without giving much thought (or concern) about what needs to be done in order to complete the work. Unfortunately, you’ll either have to explain why the timeline is unrealistic or just tough it out. Or maybe, if you’re lucky, you can convince a few team members to chip in.

3. Your manager relies on other people’s opinion of you

Manager and employee
Manager and employee |

It’s important to have someone in your corner when it comes to navigating choppy work waters. Ideally, that someone should be your boss. However, an out-of-touch supervisor will be the one who acts like your worst enemy. When your back is against the wall, your supervisor will often take your co-worker’s word over yours. This often happens because your boss hasn’t made an effort to get to know you or understand your work. You’re just another warm body who was hired to do a job.

4. Your boss doesn’t listen to you

Woman holds her hand near ear
Woman trying to listen |

Most of the time a boss who has no clue how to run a team will make decisions based on his belief that he’s always right. Have an opinion about a work issue? Too bad, it doesn’t matter. You might as well sit quietly during team meetings with your hands folded, because a clueless boss will have none of your tiny little opinions.
You could try to address the issue with your manager to see if things change. You may also want to do some observation to see if he acts this way only with you or if it’s just they way he manages. Career coach Cathy Graham also suggests assessing your own listening skills to see if you might be contributing to the issue. “Listening is an art that starts with you. It’s ironic but actually true. Be a good listener first; they will follow,” suggests Graham in her blog.
If nothing changes after tackling some of these issues with your supervisor, it may be time to take further action. Unless you want to be miserable, do yourself a favor and look for a new job. A supervisor who is out of touch most likely got his position due to some inside connection, so unless you jump ship now, he’ll be your boss for a very long time.
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