People Who Don’t Like Being Managed

Managing People Who Don’t Like Managers


There are lots of people who don’t like being managed. And they can create a real headache for their managers. But, let’s remember, if everybody were the

same, life would become dull quickly. And some very talented people don’t like having a “boss.” Unfortunately, lots of managers wish they could pick staff from a standardised ‘worker’ box. Barring complete automation of the workforce, this isn’t going to happen any time soon.

So, you need to be able to handle all kinds of people, if you are going to get results. Given that, what are you going do you do with those awkward souls who are supremely talented, but see management as authority to kick back against? Here are some tips.

Tips for Managing People Who Don’t Like Being Managed

1) Put yourself in their shoes

Seeing things from the other person’s perspective will help-. First, check if they have always acted in this way. Is it something that started recently?  Or, have they always found authority difficult?

If this is a recent thing, there could be something outside work causing the problem. If you can find out without invading their privacy, see if you can help. But you may have to face that your management style doesn’t work for them! You need to have the confidence to be open and honest. It is important to work out what is happening and find a solution. Maybe it isn’t the employee who needs to change.

2) Embrace conflict

This doesn’t mean you need to enjoy getting into squabbles with your staff. Far from it! But you do need to make sure that you are addressing it in the right way. Conflict is inevitable at some point, particularly in teams full of clever, talented people grappling with tough issues. If the thought of it fills you with dread, then you are likely to be in the wrong job.

Handling conflict in the right way means being open, fair and direct. Do not avoid it. And do not steamroller your way through. Listen to the issues being presented and look for a constructive outcome. Try to hear all sides. Look for an outcome that will resolve the problem for most, if not all.

3) Make work goals laser focused

Ambiguity can lead to disagreement. It is important to set clear goals for your team. If you can, don’t leave things open to misinterpretation. Ambiguity can leave a member of staff feeling cheated. But be realistic, some organisations do have conflicting objectives, so be as open and honest as you can in explaining to your staff why things are this way. Ask questions yourself of your own manager to get clarity. 

If your goals are clear-cut there is no room for argument. They’ve either been met, or they haven’t. Well set targets for your staff lets them know where they stand. It makes the job of evaluating their performance that much easier.

4) Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em

Having said all that, you may have to take a view on someone’s real value to the organisation. If someone is causing problems long term r causing major disruption, you will need to consider whether they should move on. Is there a department where they may be better suited? Or, do you need to let them go? It doesn’t take long for discontent to spread within a group. Don’t be afraid to act but do consult your HR section, if you have one and have an eye on Employment Law.   

This doesn’t mean behaving like a dictator. It does means that if a member of staff has been given a as much help/support as you can muster and still causes problems, you must act.  

5) Be aware that management is never plain sailing

My last tip is not so much one for handling others, as it is for handling yourself. Knowing that management is a tough job will give you a better perspective. Management isn’t easy. But I do believe that learning to be a good manager means you yourself will be happier at work. 

Working with a coach can help you be a better manager. You can get in touch with me at the email address below – I offer a free one-hour trial session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Mason Smith is a life and career coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues at home. You can contact her at

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link


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