Navigating around a blocker manager

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

A manager that is blocking your career advancement may have many different motivations – but your success is not one of them.

Some blocker managers are overt and bullish, others are more subtle, and some can even appear to be advocating for you. But if their words and actions don’t match, it’s time to trust your gut and take action to make sure your needs are being met.

In this podcast, Elise Stevens speaks with leadership coach Lata Hamilton about navigating around a blocker manager.

Lata faced a blocker manager early in her marketing career and built an entirely new career out of the experience. She believes loyalty is an illusion; any business would make you redundant if they didn’t have a job for you, and no one is more invested in your career than you.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Some blocker managers are obvious, overt, and make deliberate attempts to block people. Others say all the right things, follow the processes, and seem to be advocating for you but are actually blocking you.
  • How do you know if you have a blocker manager? They may take credit for your work, give the credit to someone else, distance you from your two up manager, give great performance reviews but no pay rises or promotions, or promote others ahead of you. They will we be inauthentic; their words won’t match their actions.
  • Blocker managers may be unhappy, overworked, fearful, suffering imposter syndrome, or simply not suited to leadership.
  • Often a manager wants to keep you in your current role because it suits them not to have to find and train your replacement if you move on.
    Many managers are not good leaders and landed in the role due to tenure.
  • Once you have identified a blocker manager you can either try to navigate around them, seek another role in the organisation, or change organisations or careers entirely.
  • To navigate around a blocker manager, manage up. Adjust the way you work to meet their needs and suit their rhythm, while having your own needs met at the same time.
  • Take ownership of your own visibility, network and stay abreast of opportunities.

About Lata:

Lata is a pocket rocket burst of energy with a big heart… and big hair! She is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers and the creator of the “Leading Successful Change” program. Lata has worked with some of Australia’s biggest companies and tripled her salary in the space of just three years. 

Lata moved from marketing to the world of organisational change management and developed her own style of inspiring change leadership. She’s worked on changes that have impacted over 100,000 people, global cultural transformations, operating model changes, and digital transformation that is literally changing the way that we work. In 2015, Lata became a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner and Coach and started her own side hustle. Lata transitioned full-time to her business in July 2021, blending her coaching and change work into her courses and consulting services. She trains female leaders to carve their own paths for change in career, leadership and life with confidence and authenticity. 

Lata is an absolute foodie, a cardio junkie, and an avid op/thrift shopper. Lata was adopted from India by an Australian family and believes it doesn’t matter where you started – it’s where you’re going and the lives you change along the way that counts. 

You can connect with Lata on LinkedIn.