Is your procurement manager setting you up to fail?

Few things at work are as uncomfortable – or as downright miserable – as a toxic procurement manager. A less-than-ideal manager can turn an exciting career opportunity into living hell, and can even make you want to resign. 

The issue with a problematic manager, though, is that they aren’t always easy to spot. Given that humans are versatile creatures, it’s possible that a single event could set your manager off on a chain that, ultimately, sets you up to fail. This may not be obvious to you at the time, but it can derail your career over weeks or months. 

Here’s three signs that your procurement manager might be setting you up to fail:

1. One mistake changes your changes your manager’s approach

Few things are more inevitable in procurement than making mistakes. The last few years have proven extremely challenging and unpredictable, and even the most experienced procurement professionals have had to make decisions where the results were less than ideal. 

A good manager will understand that mistakes happen, and will let you address those mistakes in a timely manner so you don’t repeat them. A less capable manager will not.

If you’ve made a mistake and you’ve found that your procurement manager’s approach has changed entirely, this may be setting you up for failure. Specifically, if they’ve gone from laidback to laser-focused on you, with a new desire to double-check everything, it’s a sign that things are not heading in the right direction.

Aditi Agarwal, Senior Manager at The Source Recruitment, provides great advice to candidates, stating that “you should not struggle secretly and have a candid conversation with the manager. Do your best and prove that you are here to stay.”

2. Your manager’s lack of confidence in you is causing you to question your own

Unless you’re extremely new to the procurement profession, it’s likely that you were hired into your role because you were a competent, experienced professional and as such, it’s unlikely that you will need micromanagement. 

If you’re finding, though, that this is your manager’s style, it can be quite demotivating. 

Research shows that often, employees believe they are being micromanaged due to a lack of trust. This lack of trust can lead to you having less confidence in your work, thinking and decisions, and can in time erode your confidence in working autonomously. In a nutshell, you end up thinking: why do this myself, when my manager will question it or redo it anyway. 

Unsurprisingly, this feeling is very demotivating, and ultimately sets you up to perform poorly. 

3. Your manager asks you to do seemingly pointless tasks

Have you ever been asked to take notes in a meeting with a supplier when that wasn’t really necessary? Or perhaps you’ve been asked to redraft procurement policies that you know full well will soon be made redundant? 

Your boss can, unfortunately, set you up to fail in many ways, but one extremely frustrating way is to assign work to you that adds no value to your role or the procurement function at large. If you’re consistently being asked to do tasks that add no value (especially if they are in lieu of tasks that do), then your manager may be setting you up for a less-than-ideal future in your organisation. 

Have you ever felt as if you’ve been set up to fail? How did you manage this?