Are you working for an unprofessional manager? If so, you’re not alone. Many women find themselves in this situation at some point in their careers. Thankfully, there are some strategies you can use to deal with an unprofessional manager. Here are six of them:

1. Don’t take it personally

As hard-working women, it can be easy to take unprofessional or disrespectful behaviour from a manager personally. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s not about you – unprofessional managers are likely doing this because of their own issues, and not because of anything you have done or said.

When faced with an unprofessional manager, try not to take their words or actions as a reflection of your abilities. Instead, focus on maintaining a professional attitude, setting boundaries and speaking the language of facts and evidence when discussing conflicts or issues.

If necessary, call in help from HR professionals or allies in the office who can offer support and help you navigate difficult conversations.

Even if the situation can’t be completely resolved on your own terms, practice resilience and stay focused on your own goals and aspirations. At the end of the day, it is best to remain strong mentally and confident in yourself – no matter what kind of behaviors are being displayed by managers around you.

2. Communicate effectively

When it comes to working with unprofessional managers, effective communication can help avoid creating more issues.

By communicating calmly and respectfully, it sets a constructive tone for future conversations and helps preserve relationships between coworkers.

Additionally, making sure that communication is productive and focused on solutions rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame ensures that the conversation will remain productive instead of becoming an argument.

Setting clear boundaries can also help avoid further issues as it allows both parties to understand their expectations and roles clearly.

Lastly, having an ally in the office who can provide support during difficult conversations or disagreements can be beneficial as they can offer advice on how to navigate the situation professionally.

3. Keep a positive attitude

Keeping a positive attitude can help make work more bearable even when your managers are unprofessional. This is because it’s easier to stay focused on the task at hand and complete tasks in a timely manner when you remain optimistic.

Additionally, having a positive attitude can help to create an environment that encourages collaboration, which makes work more enjoyable and less stressful. It also helps to maintain professional relationships with colleagues, as they are likely to respond better to those who approach them with a positive attitude.

Finally, having a positive attitude can help reduce stress levels and give you inner peace, so you can focus on doing your best work despite the situation.

4. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries at work when dealing with unprofessional managers is important for your career and also your wellbeing.

It’s essential to be clear about what you are willing to accept and how much you are comfortable with. You can do this by being direct and firm about your expectations, and speaking up if something is not acceptable or feeling wrong.

It’s also important to remember that despite any negative interactions, it’s still a professional relationship and should be treated as such.

Additionally, it’s important to take breaks whenever needed, set limits on working hours, and keep track of your accomplishments so you can better recognize your worth in the workplace.

Finally, don’t forget to practice self-care in order to safeguard yourself physically and mentally in the less-than-ideal work environments.

5. Be assertive

Being assertive when dealing with unprofessional managers also pays off.

Why? you may wionder.

Because it helps you to maintain control of the situation and gives you a sense of self-respect.

Being assertive allows you to communicate your needs and expectations, creating an environment where you can stand up for yourself without having to resort to aggressive or passive behavior.

Asserting yourself also shows managers that you take yourself seriously and is likely to draw respect from those around you.

Furthermore, expressing your feelings in a healthy way can help build better relationships with colleagues, as they will be more likely to listen if the conversation is approached respectfully and constructively.

Finally, asserting yourself at work can help protect your own assets such as time, energy, reputation, and even financial security.

6. Seek support from others

Seeking support from others can be helpful when dealing with unprofessional managers because it allows you to gain perspective and make more informed decisions.

It may also help to create a strong support system, as those around you can provide emotional reassurance and guidance. Knowing that there are people who will listen and understand your situation can make it easier to confront unprofessional behavior.

Additionally, seeking support will allow you to get advice from others who have experienced similar situations or have expertise in the topic. This can help give you the confidence and clarity you need to make positive changes.

Finally, having somebody to talk to about what’s going on can alleviate stress levels and help keep negative emotions in check when dealing with an unprofessional manager.

By following these strategies, you can improve your work situation and reach your career goals despite having an unprofessional manager. However, that does not mean that it is easy.


Dealing with an unprofessional manager who calls you at all hours throughout the day or that makes unreasonable request after unreasonable request makes you want to just give in and quit. If it only were that easy, right?

Quitting is not always an option. You may be at the start of your career so feel obligated to stick it out or you may simply not be ready to start the whole job search process again. After all, it is not always easy to find a new job and there is financial stability you need to take into account.

I get it. I have been there myself.

I found myself in the middle of an economic downturn, at the so-called start of my career after interviewing for nearly half a year for the position (a process which drained me mentally and financially if I am being honest) and dealing with a rather unprofessional manager.

The strategies above are some of the very few reasons why am I still sane to this day. Look, I am not going to lie – I got lucky. My manager left after a bit over two years of pure torture, years during which I had to stick it out. It was difficult, but I did not have much choice – I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. I did not want to stay nor could I afford to leave.

I am not going to praise the experience and tell you just how much tougher it made me or how I learnt to much about what not to do when I finally reached a management position in my career. That would be just wrong.

What I did learn is that it takes courage and determination to stand up for yourself when you find yourself in a difficult situation. That, and doing the best you can or as some may call it – reframing – a bad situation goes a long way.

Strategies such as the above can make things batter, but they won’t change the environment in which you have to work. They could improve it slightly, but they are not a magical fix to all your problems.

I hope this article helps you take the first steps to making your work environment a better place and improving your career goals, even if it means dealing with unprofessional managers. Good luck!

How do you deal with unprofessional managers?

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