Being a recruiter is often a high-pressure job, and it can be made downright painful if you are working with the billing manager from hell. Perhaps they are always on your back when it comes to your sales process, or maybe they are a very unpleasant person, always trying to put you down.
It is easy to feel persecuted and resentful when you know a manager has it in for you, but neither of these emotional responses will help your situation. You need to formulate a plan of action to handle ‘the billing manger from hell’ in a way that benefits your career and your happiness.
1. Look inwards.
The first action must be dispassionate self-analysis. Be honest with yourself: are you giving the billing manager any reason to ‘go after you’? Are you failing to hit targets, have you lost important clients, or have you had an unfortunate run of being late to work? It is important to accept any part you have to play in this situation.
If you identify aspects of your work where you are not hitting the mark, you may be able to entirely turn the situation around by requesting a meeting with the manager, admitting any fault, and requesting their help to improve. Of course, if your manager is an unpleasant character, this can be a tough pill to swallow, but their personality defects do not cancel out any mistakes you have made.
This is a hard thing to do that only brave; self-aware recruiters will be able to pull off. However, that is you, isn’t it? Think of them as a problematic VIP client, and use your powers of persuasion to shift the situation in your favour.
2. Become better at your job.
Weak managers are often insecure managers. The very worst managers are narcissists, meaning their fragile ego drives almost all their decision-making. This means they like people who bring them favourable attention.
Top billers reflect exceptionally well on managers, as senior figures tend to attribute at least some of the recruiter’s success on their manager. If you can improve your billing numbers, you may find you are suddenly flavour of the month. We have written very extensively on how to improve your billing numbers, so check out our blog catalogue to craft your strategy.
Moreover, you know what? If it does not work, your brilliant billing numbers will make it a cinch to move onto another recruitment company where they do value your input (and your boss is not an egotistical maniac.)
3. Learn to control your emotions.
Seems unfair, doesn’t it. They are the one behaving badly, yet it is down to you to learn to better control your emotional response ?! It is unfair, but it is the only practical solution; after all, you cannot hope to change another person, you can only work on yourself.
A great way to start is by noting your emotional response when you have any contact with the manager. Does your heart rate rise? Do you immediately feel on the defensive (even to the extent that you were possibly reading in negative behaviours when there weren’t any)?
Writing down your thoughts, meditation, and deep breathing can help you to start noticing when your emotional state is heightened. Our bodies are instantly triggered by ‘fight or flight’ mode when we’re stressed, so a great thing you can practice at your desk is 4-7-8 breathing (in for 4 counts, hold for 7, out for 8), which will force your nervous system back into the ‘rest and digest’ mode. It works, try it next time you notice your heart racing when the boss has a go at you.
4. Discuss your concerns with the manager.
If you find your strategy is not working to improve the relationship, you will need to have a discussion raising your concerns. It is possible they simply don’t realise that their management style is problematic for you, particularly if others do not seem to have an issue with it.
Your strategy should be: Frame your concerns in light of how it benefits them, particularly if you are dealing with a narcissist.
For instance, ‘I want to get my billing numbers up, but I find when you yell at me in front of the team, I get flustered and find it hard to concentrate for the rest of the day. Could we schedule a private meeting next time, and I would love to get some coaching from you so I can perform better for the team.’
You have then provided them with an attractive reason to change their behaviour (while throwing a bit of flattery into the mix.)
5. Document everything.
When dealing with a boss who has a vendetta against you, it is vital to document everything, so you are not left without recourse if they start counteracting their earlier instructions to trip you up. When you have a verbal discussion, send them a ‘recap’ email to have it in written form.
Also, keep your files backed up so that you can leave the job at any time if you need to.
Remember, there is so much still in your power. However, if you find that none of these strategies gets the boss from hell off your back, there are plenty of great companies out there looking for recruiters!
Until next time,