Bullish Q&A: Incompetent Boss? Opportunity for You!

Winning Capitalism

It has become increasingly obvious that my new boss is not great at his job. He is disorganised, lacks motivation and he gives out inaccurate information to colleagues and customers. How do I deal? I really enjoyed this job until he started and the rest of the team don’t seem happy either.

 

Sure. You’re going to have to manage him (without blaming, condescending, or pissing him off).

For instance, don’t ask open-ended questions, like “What should my priorities be?” or “What timeline do you expect for this project?” Instead, come to him with a list: “Right now these are the priorities I’m working on. Does this look right to you?” Or, “I have a proposed timeline for the project. Does this work for you?” Let him make some changes so he feels in control. Thank him for his valuable feedback. Be the only person who makes him feel like a good boss, even though he isn’t.

Try to use the situation as an opportunity to make your own management and leadership skills shine. Can you angle for this guy’s job? Wouldn’t you do it better?

Try to bond with your coworkers over the situation, but without badmouthing the boss. Sure, everyone wants to complain, but make yourself the person who understands — but is compassionate and positive. That is, act like a good boss would. Write off your boss’s incompetence with an empathetic, “He’s probably overloaded right now,” and then motivate and help your coworkers. Be an oasis of professionalism and positivity in a sea of suckage.

Finally, get yourself noticed. Make sure you get in front of higher-ups. Make presentations, get your name on things, pitch big ideas. Get your leadership on the executives’ radar.

So, yes, I’m recommending you be a total opportunist about this situation. I’m assuming you don’t work on the ground for Operation Smile. You work for some kind of for-profit business in a capitalist economy. It’s an entire system of opportunism. If you can be an opportunist while doing your job well and helping people, you win capitalism! That’s how you do it.

Use this situation for your own selfish benefit, please. While being awesome at everything. You can do it!

Jen