Career Advice >> Browse Articles >> Management

Career Advice >> Browse Articles >> Workplace Challenges


How to Survive a Bad Team Leader

How to Survive a Bad Team Leader

Larry Buhl | HotJobs

Focus on issues, not personalities.
“Many people on teams will say, ‘If I can get that guy to shut up and listen, everything will be fine,’” says business strategist and speaker AmyK Hutchens. “But they need to not focus on the perceived troublemaker. Rather, they should ask the group how to create better dialogue in meetings. That way, they direct their attention to the issues, not the person.”

Lancer agrees. “One of the most essential keys to effective teamwork is disciplining yourself to respond to your teammates functionally, rather than personally. This means that instead of being judgmental about others, or interpreting others’ performance in ways that cause you to feel offended, betrayed, or taken advantage of, you take responsibility for the effectiveness of your responses. Focus on how your responses are working for you, instead of focusing on what others are up to.”

Ask questions.
Sometimes team members fall into the assumption that everyone is on the same page, when they’re really not. As a result, deadlines aren’t met, tasks slip, and some people feel burdened with what should be someone else’s responsibilities.

If you’re not the leader, you can help by asking questions, Hutchens says. “Ask, ‘What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How do we accomplish it? And how do we know when we’ve succeeded? Ask questions that move the team forward. Don’t just say, ‘I have the answers.’ Ideally the team should agree to five rules and a schedule, and deadlines and consequences for missing deadlines.”

Know how to involve a supervisor.
If all of your efforts to prop up the group fail, you may need help. “This is especially true if rights and/or policies are being violated,” says Cynthia E. Kazalia, placement specialist at New Directions Career Center in Ohio. She suggests that when you need to involve a supervisor, you ask for a private meeting time, have documentation ready, stick to the facts, refrain from character assassinations, and be specific about how you want him or her to fix the situation.

This article was originally published on

Related Reads:

InsideTech School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use InsideTech's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.