Being ‘managed out’ means your manager, boss, or company is doing things to make your working life as miserable as possible so you leave.
There are a number of reasons why this happens, but the bottom line is that it’s workplace bullying and is not acceptable.
Being managed out can cause stress, depression, and anxiety, and have other negative effects on your mental and physical wellbeing.
The first step is to spot the danger signs of being managed out, then the next step is to follow the correct course of action:
Danger Signs of Being Managed Out
1. Your Boss Has Started Micromanaging You
Micromanaging is when your boss starts paying close attention to your work, very close attention, often in a way that is excessive, intrusive, and not necessary.
This really sums up being managed out as someone above you with the power to overmanage you will do so to make your life a misery.
Typical signs of micromanaging are; asking for regular updates on your work, more than they used to, checking up on you, watching over your shoulder, questioning your decisions, and so on.
Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and like you’re being managed too closely is a sign you’re being micromanaged.
2. Your Manager Is Asking You to Document Everything You’re Doing
This is a way for your manager to have a record of everything you’re doing so they can nitpick and find fault.
It’s also a way of building a case against you so they can eventually fire you – usually based on unfair findings and special treatment.
If your manager starts asking you to document every little thing you’re doing, be alarmed.
This is not a normal request, and you should question it.
If they become insistent, then you should start documenting everything they’re doing too, for your own protection.
This way you have a record of their management style and behavior in case it comes down to a situation where it’s their word against yours.
3. Your Duties Have Been Reduced or Reassigned
If you’re being managed out, one of the first things that will happen is your duties will be reduced or reassigned.
This is usually because your boss wants to make you look bad, or they want to give you less responsibility so they make a case for you not being needed any longer.
If you suddenly find yourself with less to do, or your duties have been changed without explanation, be aware that this could be a sign you’re being managed out.
If you have any concerns, I advise you to raise them with your boss or HR department as soon on in the process as possible.
4. You’re Being Left out Of Key Meetings and Communications
If you’re being managed out, you’ll probably find yourself being left out of key meetings and communications.
This is because your boss wants to make you feel like you’re not a key part of the team or that you’re not needed.
It’s a petty, toxic form of workplace bullying that I’ve seen happening myself firsthand.
I know how much this hurts the person being targeted, so I sympathize with you if you’ve found yourself in this situation.
It’s a danger sign of being managed out, bullied, or targeted in some way.
5. You’re Being Given the Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is another way of making you feel isolated and alone at work.
If your boss or colleagues start ignoring you, it’s a sign that something’s not right.
This is especially true if you’ve done nothing to warrant the silent treatment – which is often the case when someone’s being managed or forced out.
If this is happening to you, the same advice applies, speak to your boss or HR about the situation and get something on record as soon as you can.
The silent treatment is not acceptable in the workplace, and you have a right to be treated with respect and it’s certainly one of the more immature and damaging ways to be managed out.
6. You’re Not Being Assigned Long-Term Tasks
If you’re not being assigned long-term tasks, it’s a sign that your boss doesn’t see you being in your position long-term, which is worrying.
It might also be a psychological tactic to make you think or feel like you’re not a permanent part of the team, too.
In any case, it’s not a good sign and is one of the red flags or danger signs that your boss or the company you work for has plans to manage you out of the business.
7. You’re Being Given the Worst Tasks
No one wants to be given the worst tasks, it’s one of the most demotivating and demoralizing things that can happen at work.
If you find yourself constantly being given the tasks no one else wants to do, it’s a sign that you’re being targeted, it’s just a matter of why and what your boss is trying to achieve.
There could be all sorts of reasons, but usually, it’s because they want to make you loathe coming into work and demotivate you so you start to look for another job.
It’s a horrible way to be treated and I really hope it’s not happening to you, but if it is you have to take notice and understand that you’re being treated unfairly.
8. Nothing You Do Is Acknowledged
If it’s becoming apparent that none of your hard work is being acknowledged, it’s a sign that your coworkers, boss, etc are trying to devalue your efforts.
This is done to make you feel like your work isn’t needed or appreciated, and it’s a way of putting you down so they can justify letting you go or force you to leave of your own accord.
It’s not fair, and it’s not right, but sadly it happens in workplaces all the time.
If this is happening to you, I hope you can see through it and not let it get you down or chip away at your self-confidence.
9. You’re Slowly Being Made to Feel More Isolated
If you’re slowly being made to feel more isolated, it’s a sign that your boss or colleagues are trying to make you feel like you’re not a part of the team.
This might be done by excluding you from social events, leaving you out of important meetings, or just generally not including you in work-related issues.
It’s a very toxic behavior as it can be damaging to your mental health making you feel like you’re in the wrong and that you’re not performing well enough.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I don’t know why your work would have this agenda, but it’s important to remember that it’s not you who is at fault, you’re just a victim of whatever their agenda is.
10. You Find Yourself Being Blamed for Things You Didn’t Do
If you find yourself being blamed for work-related things going wrong that had nothing to do with you, you’re clearly being made a scapegoat.
This is a very common tactic used in workplaces to try and make someone the fall guy so they can be let go or forced out.
It’s not right, and it’s not fair, but it happens all the time.
The best thing you can do if this starts happening to you is to keep a log of everything that goes on at work and who is responsible for what.
That way you have a record to back yourself up with if you ever need it.
11. You Can Tell You’re Being Treated Differently than Others
This one isn’t related to anything specific, because sometimes companies are careful not to make it obvious when they’re trying to manage someone out.
But it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
If you can feel that you’re being treated differently than others, whether it’s being given more work, less work, or just being treated in a negative way, it might be a sign that you’re being managed out.
It’s not a nice feeling, but it’s important to trust your gut in these situations.
You should be treated equally to your coworkers and given the same opportunities, if that is not happening you’re right to question why.
12. You’re No Longer Invited to Social Events
If you used to be invited to social events with your coworkers and boss but suddenly you’re no longer on the guest list, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that something has changed.
This is a very common sign that you’re being managed out, frozen out, or excluded in some way.
Company and team morale and culture is incredibly important to the effectiveness of individuals and teams as a whole.
When someone is pushed out of the team, either socially or within the workplace, it crushes that person’s morale.
This is often a tactic used to manage people out of their role without crossing any lines in the workplace that they could be held liable for.
13. Coworkers Tell You Your Boss Has Asked Them Not to Help You
In some instances, the first you’ll know about being managed out is when coworkers come forward and tell you they’ve been told to treat you differently.
This is a very serious sign that something sneaky is going on, and you need to take action.
If your boss has told other people not to help you or support you, they’re essentially trying to make your job difficult while involving more people.
This is a very clear sign that they want you gone and it feels awful to know that your coworkers – willingly or not – are also supporting your boss.
14. You’re Being Given Unrealistic Deadlines
There is nothing worse than being put under stress with impossible or unrealistic deadlines.
This is a very common tactic used to try and get people to fail so they can be let go.
If you start finding yourself in this situation, it’s important to speak up and let your boss know that the deadlines are unrealistic.
You can also ask for help from your coworkers if you’re struggling.
But if your boss is trying to manage you out and is manipulating your coworkers, you’re going to find yourself in an impossible situation.
It’s easier said than done but you need to look at your situation for what it is and try not to get stressed.
15. Any Concerns You Raise with Your Boss Are Ignored
When you’re being managed out, your boss will start to ignore any concerns or issues you raise.
This is because they are involved in managing you out, which is what makes it such a difficult issue to resolve.
If this is happening to you, it’s important to document everything so that you can prove you raised your grievances and they were ignored should your issue go to some kind of tribunal.
Should I Ask if I’m Being Managed Out?
There is no easy answer to this question.
If you’re already in a situation where you suspect you’re being managed out, asking your boss directly could put you in an even more difficult position.
Your boss could lie and deny it, or they could tell the truth and start to accelerate the process.
It’s unlikely they’re going to be honest about it and tell you though as this puts the company at risk of breaking labor laws.
I know how you feel though, most people just want to know where they stand – but you have to ask yourself if showing your hand and asking your boss is going to help.
What to Do if You’re Being Managed Out Of Your Role
If you’re in the unfortunate position of being managed out of your role, there are a few things you can do.
- Firstly, confide in trusted coworkers and ask what they’re noticing.
- It’s also important you start documenting everything that’s happening.
- This includes dates, times, conversations, and anything else that’s relevant.
- Once you have enough evidence, you can raise a formal grievance with your employer.
- This is usually the last resort but it’s important to know your rights and how to protect yourself.
If you’re being managed out of your role, it’s a difficult and stressful time.
But knowing your rights and what to do can help you protect yourself and hopefully resolve the situation.
Image credits – Photo by TienDat Nguyen on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.