Grow your career on

Advanced Search

Career Guide Articles

View the current Ag & Food Career Guides:

Enhance your career development by signing up to receive relevant career advice delivered to your email! Sign up for the Career Success Kit at

Download      Back


Tips for Handling a Poor Intern Manager


By Kristi Sproul,


MY BIGGEST HOPE is that you never have a reason to put the tips in this article to use! Ideally intern managers will be selected because of their competence, supervisory experience and ability to structure (and deliver) a meaningful intern program. The impact a manager has on an intern can either make or break the experience.


Fortunately, 77% of respondents to our 2018 Internship Benchmark Survey, rated their supervisor as above average. However, 5% did not have the same experience and rated their supervisor as below average. If you find yourself in a similar boat how do you handle a poor manager?


Seek out other professional mentors in the organization. Find opportunities to connect with other full-time employees that you could learn from. This may be in an official capacity through assigned project work, or you may invite them to lunch or coffee.


Don’t let it affect your work. It’s important that you still work hard and treat others with respect. Other leaders in the company will appreciate your commitment to your role.


Do not bad mouth your manager…even if you have plenty of reason to do so and even if everyone else is doing it. Maintain professionalism by taking the high road. The exception to this rule is if you or others have been verbally or physically harassed, in which case talk to your Human Resources office immediately.


Find out what makes them tick. This may take some time and keen observation, but analyze what your boss responds best to, what time of day they are most approachable, and even what their personal interests are. Utilize this knowledge when approaching them.


While a poor manager can make you feel like you didn’t learn anything during your internship, it does in fact teach you a very valuable lesson. It teaches you how not to treat others or behave in the workplace, and your future coworkers will appreciate your perspective!