From Manager to Director: Overcoming Unsupportive Leadership with Michaelangelo Aranda

Michaelangelo Aranda

In this episode, we delve into the story of Michaelangelo Aranda, a seasoned people leader, who was promoted into a Director role.

Initially filled with honor and excitement after the promotion, Michaelangelo’s ascent was accompanied by a wave of challenges, primarily stemming from his unsupportive leader.

Struggling with a lack of backing and encouragement, Michaelangelo’s confidence wavered, leading to self-doubt and emotional exhaustion.

The crux of the story unfolds as Michaelangelo makes the courageous decision to resign. His departure was a pivotal moment, teaching him to advocate for himself and ultimately prioritize a better work environment, even if it meant less pay.

Michaelangelo’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the complex dynamics within the workplace and the importance of advocating for oneself in the face of adversity.

The Story

At the outset of his new Director role, Michaelangelo was brimming with excitement and a sense of honor from his promotion. However, the initial enthusiasm gave way to a harsh reality as he encountered unsupportive leadership.

Six months into the role, his assertiveness, a quality crucial for effective leadership, was met with criticism, leading to passive-aggressive interactions and emails from his leader.

This toxic work environment took a toll on Michaelangelo, sowing seeds of self-doubt and discomfort. It made him question his ability to lead and how he was showing up as a leader. He began asking himself, “did I let power get to my head?”

Around 9-10 months into his role, his leader’s behavior escalated. Michaelangelo was being questioned at every turn – from going over budget when he didn’t have a budget to begin with, to not holding team members accountable when he was directly undermined when he attempted to.

Although Michaelangelo had the highest compensation of his career, he made the difficult decision to resign, even without having another position lined up.

Ultimately, he found a more fulfilling work situation and is in a much better place today.

What He Learned:

Michaelangelo learned that he’s a lot more resilient than he gave himself credit for. He had trusted mentors and people in his life who gave him feedback and supported him when he was questioning his ability as a leader.

The only thing Michaelangelo would have done differently is confront the situation at the beginning (at the start of it) instead of letting it escalate.

His Advice:

Find yourself among good people and be able to talk things out with others. If that’s not the right situation for you, there will be a right situation for you. You’re always your best advocate. No one will take care of you like you.

Michaelangelo’s Bio:

Michaelangelo Aranda is a native Nevadan spending most of his life in Las Vegas and Reno. He has been a people leader for over the last decade holding roles as a team leader up to being a department director. He holds his community dear to his heart. He has served on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross and is currently a Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Spaces Commissioner.

Michelangelo holds certifications in Human Resources and Training and Development. He aspires to create change in the workplace through transformative and empathetic leadership. He spends the rest of his time traveling and making adventure stories with his wife, Lidia, and their two sons, Landon and Logan.