Your Mediocre Manager Is Blocking Your Progress

Top online courses in Career Development

Your mediocre manager is holding you back from career advancement. Mediocre managers are highly skilled at playing internal politics and leveraging flattery to advance their careers. However, they do not possess the skills and qualities necessary to coach and develop you to meet your career goals. Furthermore, your mediocre manager uses fake empathy when coaching you because they’ve learned that trait has become valuable.

Mediocre managers focus their time and attention on maintaining their status within the ranks of the executive leadership team. As a result, they point their finger toward you to explain why something went wrong. Conversely, when things go right, mediocre managers claim the credit.

Mediocre managers dominate the office social scene. Ever-present, with their smiles and flattery, they fly under the radar. These visuals help mediocre managers create a perception around the organization of extreme confidence and likeability. As a result, the executive team holds them in high regard. They do no wrong, and even more, their word is truth. However, it is a house of cards built on personality, not their true capabilities or results.


5 Signs You Have a Mediocre Manager

Before you make up your mind that your boss is mediocre, check your bias. The first thing you should do is look at yourself. It is common for people to have blind spots when it comes to their boss. Some people naturally resist authority, or perhaps you were competing for their job. Before judging your boss, check your bias to understand better what you are seeing.

1) They Manage Through Rules

Mediocre managers don’t possess the skills necessary to coach and develop people, so they solve people problems by implementing processes. Instead of addressing the small group of people causing issues, they make rules that punish those who weren’t abusing the system. Even worse, the newly enacted rules end up slowing everyone down. When your manager creates rules and processes as a means to manage you, they are blocking your progress.

2) Mediocre managers don’t share information

There are three reasons why managers withhold information from you.

  • First, they hoard information because they think it gives them an advantage.
  • Second, mediocre managers withhold information because they don’t want to distract or upset people.
  • Finally, they claim it is sensitive information that isn’t fit for sharing.

When managers don’t share information, it blocks your progress.

3) They don’t share credit where it’s due

Mediocre managers destroy employee trust by taking credit for someone else’s work. It shows a complete lack of integrity. When there is a big success, the mediocre manager steps forward to claim the victory. But, when things go badly, they are quick to name the cause, and it is seldom themself. When your manager points undue blame in your direction, they are blocking your progress.

4) Mediocre managers are out of touch with the daily work

Most managers struggle with the appropriate level of involvement. Some offer too much freedom to their team, while others lean more toward micromanagement. When managers back away from the daily grind too far, they lose valuable perspective on the work, which results in mediocre management.


5) They do your job instead of their own

Mediocre managers aren’t sure how to do their job, so they default back into doing your job. However, in many cases, your manager earned their promotion because they were a solid individual contributor. Reverting back to that level gives them confidence and a sense of accomplishment, especially when they struggle to feel valued in their management role.

Overcoming your mediocre manager

It is very frustrating to work for a mediocre manager, and you have three options to deal with one. You can change it, accept it, or leave it. However, when you understand your boss’s limitations, you create an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths.

1) Ask questions

When your mediocre manager is putting policies in place to address behavior, ask how those policies are helping deliver on your goals. If they aren’t, brainstorm ideas that would.


The same is true when your mediocre manager is keeping you in the dark. Ask questions to understand the bigger picture of the organization’s strategies so you can align your work to those priorities.

2) Demonstrate the change you want to see

If your mediocre manager is notorious for stealing credit, take the initiative to recognize the work of others in your department or team. Then, actively promote your coworker’s successes. Finally, work with your mediocre manager to clearly define roles and responsibilities. When roles and responsibilities are defined, it is much easier to attribute credit. Demonstrate the change you want to see when you are working for a mediocre manager.

3) Communicate to your mediocre manager

Your manager’s effectiveness is largely based on information they receive from their employees. Let your boss know you appreciate their trust and freedom. Make it clear to your mediocre boss that you want the benefits of their expertise. More importantly, emphasize your ownership of your job. Develop a plan to keep them regularly engaged and highlight areas where you need their involvement. Communicating to your mediocre manager builds a level of trust and comfort in your decision-making process.


Working for a mediocre manager is bad for your career. Find the courage necessary to step up and be the change you want to see. You will expand your managerial skill set, gain the trust and respect of your team, and increase your exposure within the organization. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to fix your mediocre manager, the important thing is making a choice and moving forward.

Don't Fall Behind.

Join thousands of like-minded people who receive early access to my career coaching articles.

Jason Cortel is currently the Director of Global Workforce Management for a leading technology company. He has been in customer service, marketing, and sales services for over 20 years. In addition, he has extensive experience in offshore and nearshore outsourcing. Jason is an avid Star Trek fan and is on a mission to change the universe by helping people develop professionally. He is driven to help managers and leaders lead their teams better. Jason is also a veteran in creating talent and office cultures.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Need advice or help with your boss? Click to Learn More.