• Seagull managers are nothing but useless negativity
  • Take away their opportunities for blamestorming
  • Focus on being a leader to win over the long run
You’re having one of those tough weeks at work. You’ve been scrambling all over the place and putting out fires. And, there’s a big one that’s reaching near crisis levels. You know just what we’re talking about.

It’s the one that is going to need involvement from a variety of departments. And it’s gotten to the point where you’ve gotta brief the senior management of the situation before shit hits the fan in a big way.

As you start drafting up the email and scheduling the meeting, you start selecting the key managers that need to get involved.

It’s at this point that you dreadfully have to include Seagull Sam in this email and meeting invite. You don’t want him in this email chain or meeting because all he’s gonna do is show up, shit on everything and then just take off.

You can’t exclude him. He’s part of the circle. There’s no getting around it. He’ll get himself involved no matter what.

Managing work stress is hard enough as it is. Dealing with seagull managers makes your work life so much worse.

What Are Seagull Managers Anyway?

If you haven’t heard of this term before, don’t fret. The term is not exactly super common but the office personality type is.

This is the person who loves to stir shit up during problems, challenges and crises. They do this more for showmanship than anything else.

They want to look like the all-knowing superstar pointing out all the issues. When in fact, they really don’t have much knowledge or expertise in the area. Shit, sometimes they don’t even know their own ass from their elbow, just like some clueless executives.

All they are really good at is criticizing everyone, dishing out negative feedback and then just disappearing out of sight. They just want to look like the problem-solving savior without actually having to solve the damn problem. They leave the mess for others to bang their heads against the wall and clean up.

They are the seagulls of the office world. They swoop in, make a lot of noise, pick at the garbage, shit on everything and then fly away. They are pain-in-the-ass coworkers that don’t provide any meaningful value or contributions. They just show up when someone drops the ball so they can look good.

Like seagulls, these managers aren’t interested in doing the hard work. They want the easy pickings with the least amount of effort. They just want to shine the spotlight on themselves by looking smart.

The savvy seagulls will claim credit for identifying the problems and sounding the alarms. And if things fail, they’ll take the stance of the “I told you so” position. They work the angles so that they look good no matter what happens. They play office politics like a pro which is about the only other thing that they’re good at.

What this means for you is that they’re nothing more than another fucking headache that you gotta deal with.

How To Deal With Seagull Managers

If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of working for or with a seagull manager, you know just how frustrating it can be.

The shitty part is that they’re neither office assholes that bully people around nor underperformers that cyberloaf all day and don’t work. In either of those cases, there is some ground for eventual termination.

However, seagulls only work hard enough to make themselves look good and look like they’re contributing to the effort. So, in the eyes of HR, they look like they’re doing work. When in actuality, it’s nothing more than shallow negative commentary. And, they can’t get into trouble for doing that.

So, here are some tips for what you can do to get through rough days like this.

1) Early & Frequent Involvement

Seagull managers often make themselves known during high-profile events. So, you should know who they are in your organization.

When you know that you have to get them involved, do so early and frequently. This is a tactic that works well to not only dampen their big splash during the main event but also minimize the amount of blamestorming.

Use the fact that they aren’t the experts to your advantage. Ask for their solution and how they plan to execute it and copy the actual experts in that area. Then, sit back and watch the email boxing match unfold right before your eyes. 

2) Document, Document, Document!

If there’s one thing that seagull managers won’t do is get tagged for accountability. They’ll do everything in their power to avoid being responsible for developing and executing the solution. They avoid the real grunt work that gets shit done.

By documenting everything with them via email, including any CYA emails, you can reel them into the circle, even if it’s by association.

This is especially important if the problem sits within their responsibility or group. Then, it’s truly their problem, not yours.

3) Ignore Their Bullshit When Appropriate

If the seagull manager has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand or only has a marginal impact, then ignore their bullshit.

Anything they say or do doesn’t help. So, don't give it any value. Let that shit go in one ear and out the other. Just nod your head with a brief acknowledgment and then, move on to the next task to keep your momentum going.

This is what will get you quick little wins to stay motivated. When they happen, don’t forget to celebrate these small victories because they’ll create positive office karma to keep you going.

4) Escalate Issues Up The Chain

Whenever you’re having problems and options are running out, it’s always a good idea to escalate issues to get shit done.

Follow the appropriate escalation channels and procedures to run it up to the right folks. If done correctly, you can increase the chances that the seagull can’t swoop in at the last minute.

When you have everything documented, including all the exhausted options and the remaining issues at hand, it shows that you’ve done your homework. The seagull can’t poke holes in it.

5) Tell Them To Help Or STFU

One great way to stave off seagull managers is to directly ask them to get involved with the working group to develop and execute the solution. Use your cc wisely and copy their boss on the email too.

We’d bet that they’ll come up with some bullshit reason that they can’t be part of the team. Or, ideally, they will count themselves out entirely - save this email.

If you do this enough times, eventually they’ll stop using you as an opportunity for self-promotion and you can tell them to shut the fuck up and go away.

Don’t Feed The Seagulls And They Won’t Come Back

Every organization has at least one seagull manager that doesn’t contribute any value to the group. They’re only interested in making themselves known in the company as highly respected individuals.

Seagull managers need platforms to constantly feed their egos and false outer shells to hide their shallow capabilities. Without the platforms, they can’t survive.

We all know that there are much better ways to manage your personal brand at work. They’re just too lazy and clueless to do that.

You need to take these platform opportunities away from your seagull manager to stop them from coming around.

It’s just like the real world. If you stop feeding the seagulls, they won’t come back.

Don’t give your Seagull Sam any opportunities to showcase his fakery. Shut him out enough times and he’ll eventually give up and look elsewhere to dish out his bullshit.

Then, you can get in the zone and be superstar that you are.

You’ll be creating a unique professional image that’ll boost your career far above that garbage seagull.

Feel Better,

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