No line manager – good or bad?

A relationship with a line manager can be a tricky and sometimes intense thing. You might be working right beside them and might potentially see this person for more hours each week than you do your partner or your children. You don’t choose them but the impact they can have on your life, positive or negative, can be significant.

Difficult relationships with line managers are a common reason for employees wanting to leave their job (although not necessarily given as the reason!). Some line managers are just not good at managing staff, don’t manage in the way the employee would find most supportive or appropriate, or just don’t ‘gel’ personality-wise. Some bosses micro-manage, others don’t offer enough support or help. Some are embroiled in organisational politics.

I’ve had some lovely bosses in my time (just in case they’re reading…!). No really I have. But even so, it is nice not having one! I like that my working life isn’t so significantly impacted by one person, and I like that it’s not luck of the draw whether I get a great, supportive line manager with a personality I like, or the opposite. I like that I set the direction of the business and am not dependent on the approval of someone else for decisions I want to make about my work.

Of course not having a boss presents its challenges as well. It means the buck stops here. There’s no one to take on the tricky stuff, or fight my corner, and no one who is taking ultimate responsibility for any mistakes I make.  Sometimes having a boss is very helpful for accountability. If you know your manager is expecting something to be done in a certain way or by a certain time, you are likely to make sure you do it. If no one will be checking up on you it’s easier to procrastinate or avoid things.

But I’m happy to have exchanged that increased responsibility for decision making and accountability for the freedom and sense of ownership that comes from being my own boss!


If you like the idea of becoming your own boss, do get in touch.