First thing is first we are not talking about a boss that you simply don’t like, we’re talking about an incompetent superior who lacks the necessary leadership skills, knowledge and judgement. In other words, they are totally inadequate when it comes to managing you and have no idea really about what you do. This is not only hugely infuriating, but it can also be damaging to your career as they make bad decisions, offer bad support and provide bad direction. So, how do you deal with an incompetent boss? The key is to work out how they operate so you can figure out how to manipulate their strengths to your advantage or work out how to minimise their career damaging impact. Here are 5 great tips on how to deal with an incompetent boss.
1. Take the lead
Just because they are your superior does not mean you can’t take the reins. If you know what needs to be done and how to do it, there is no reason not to take the lead and chase the results you know your company will appreciate. People who take the initiative to take the lead are naturally followed by their peers and are noticed by higher management (perhaps not your immediate boss). Please note, you have to be careful not to undermine your boss as that could do more damage than good. Always keep them in the know.
2. Remove the weakest link
One of the most frustrating things about an incompetent boss is when they get involved and negatively impact your work. For example, if they ask the team you manage to do something ill conceived. The best thing to do in this instance is to isolate the problem area and then politely suggest an alternative solution, therefore, removing the weakest link. In this instance, I would ask if I could be consulted on all decisions regarding my team. People will soon rely on you for reliable decisions and the problem is avoided.
3. Teach them
This seems backwards and a crazy idea, but a very worthwhile investment. Every time your boss makes a bad management decision that affects you, you have the opportunity to teach your boss a little about your area. Soon enough they will have enough savvy to make well-informed decisions that help rather than hinder your career.
4. Look elsewhere for a mentor
It is important to have someone in a higher position to learn from and follow in your company. If your direct boss doesn’t bring much to the table, look for someone else in your company who is inspiring and going places. Don’t be held back by your incompetent boss.
If you’ve tried everything and still you are stuck under a useless boss, it’s time to cut your losses and quit. There is no point sticking it out in a job that isn’t going to take you where you want to go.
If you have to take step five, why not search for your next move on Adzuna.