3 signs that you’re being set up to fail by your manager

Most of the time, companies and their supervisors want their employees to succeed. This seems obvious: why wouldn’t your coworkers or company want you to do well? But in some circumstances, it very well may be that you are being set up to fail.

There are many telltale signs that this could be a possibility and that your manager is placing you into an impossible situation where you aren’t capable of doing your job.

Here are some ways to know if you are in a toxic work environment.

1. You weren’t given the proper resources

Does your manager often assign you work, but you were never taught how to do it? This may be a sign they are purposefully setting you up to fail. Typically, a superior is supposed to give you the training and resources needed to complete a task. However, some managers who fail to provide this, yet expect the work to be done anyway, may not have your best interest at heart.

Now, it may also be possible that the manager may think you already have the tools or skills to complete the task. Sometimes managers become so accustomed to a task that they forget a new employee may not understand the requirements or what to do. If you think this may be the case, ask your manager for help. A good manager should be willing to explain and help out. And if they don’t, well…the feeling like you were set up to fail may be proving to be true.

2. Unrealistic deadlines

Another example of a boss setting up their employee to fail is by giving them unrealistic deadlines, coupled with a ton of work. If it seems like the work is continuously piled on and you constantly feel like there isn’t enough time in the world to get it done, then your boss is setting you up to fail, whether they intend to or not.

Having an overwhelming amount of pressure and tight deadlines can cause extreme anxiety, thus not allowing the employee to put their best foot forward. If you feel this way, express your concern to your boss. If they don’t listen to you and try to put the blame back on you, they may have a lack of concern for your well-being or your success in the role – which brings me to my next tell-take sign.

3. Blame shifting

One big sign of being set up to fail is blame-shifting. As your manager, their job is to help you succeed. They are supposed to be there to address your concerns, teach you and guide you when you feel confused or overwhelmed.

What they are not supposed to do is continuously shift blame back on you. For example, if they fault you for missing a deadline — especially if you have gone to them with concerns regarding the task – and they refused to help and ultimately blame you, this is a sign they are setting you up for failure. If they shift the blame towards you and take no ownership, then it’s quite possible they are trying to project the failure onto you.

Everyone feels lost at work sometimes, especially if we have a new task or don’t know a software program. Being able to ask your manager for help should be a normal action to take in the workplace. Always remember that your success is reflected on your manager, and their job is to help you succeed in your role. If you feel overwhelmed or confused, you should have a comfortable relationship to ask your boss for help.

But if they constantly put you down, overwhelm you with work and little to no explanation of how to accomplish it, then you may be set up to fail. If that’s the case, address it with a higher up, or look for a new job – nobody should be in a place where they feel undervalued.