Complaining about the boss makes for amusing water-cooler gossip. In fact, it’s almost a given that there is no such thing as a perfect boss and the boss is mostly always out to ruin your life. However, irrespective of whether you are newly hired or an old employee, having an incompetent boss to report to can be quite damaging.
Incompetency is defined as ‘lacking the skills or knowledge to do a job well’. At the workplace, this could mean a boss who doesn’t have adequate technical or managerial skills. Bad bosses usually are negative in their outlook, are unable to hold a team together and kill productivity. Here are 5 ways to deal with an incompetent boss:
Understand The Boss First
In order to understand what their incompetence is, you need to look at them and at yourself as an employee objectively. If you don’t like your boss as a person, it does not mean that they are incompetent. The first step is to collect information first and list down certain incidents where their incompetence was evident. Understand the job role that your boss has and keep in mind the targets they have to achieve as well.
Talk To Your Peers
If you boss is truly incompetent, then there’s a good possibility that others at the office feel the same way. No matter how tempting, never allow the conversation to descend to the level of ‘bitching’ or ‘complaining’ about the boss. That could backfire with unforeseen implications for you. The right thing to do is to seek out an older employee who can give you the right advice on how to resolve the situation.
Focus On Your Goals
When you are forced to report to an incompetent boss, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and feel negative about everything. Remind yourself that you have dreams to accomplish and goals to achieve. When you feel positive about yourself and have faith in your abilities, you tend to use every opportunity that comes your way to learn and improve. If the lack of good leadership is affecting the organization, look for ways to step up.
Being mature in handling another person without allowing matters to escalate in a negative way takes a lot of self-control. Bad bosses wait for staff members to make a mistake so that they can be shamed for it. If that happens to you, make sure you keep your emotions in check first, so that you won’t be accused of bad behaviour. Negative emotions can affect the way you perform at the workplace and make matters worse between your boss and you. Remember those aspects of your job that you love.
Avoid Complaining To The Higher-Ups
Walking into the office of the CEO or company owner to complain about your immediate boss sounds delightful, but it isn’t. Hierarchy levels do exist in organizations and there is a possibility that people up the ladder may not pay attention to your complaints. It may be brushed off as unimportant and backfire on you. If your boss comes to know that you complained about him to his boss, you can bet that won’t go down well.
Is there Any Way To Get Rid Of An Incompetent Boss?
Here are three options to consider:
Confront The Boss
If you have a recorded log of incidents in which your boss proved to be incompetent, you deserve to talk about it face to face with them. Confronting the boss is a lot harder than it sounds. On the other hand, not speaking up for yourself will undermine your self-worth. Give your boss a chance to go through your complaints and to respond accordingly. It is possible that they may not even be aware of their negative impact on the workplace.
Let us assume that you did meet your immediate boss and confronted them with your complaints. If your boss has not taken your complaints the right way, then meeting with the HR is the right thing to do. In such cases, HR will talk to you and your boss separately, understand the situation and give advice in an objective manner, individually. HR may also call you and your boss together to sort out the issues, so it is important to be well-prepared in advance.
Talk To The Higher-Ups (In Exceptional Cases)
Ratting out to managers up the ladder about your immediate boss is not encouraged as it could backfire. However, there is one exception to the rule. If the boss is in the habit of taking up a task and simply dividing it among the team without contributing anything positive, then this is a cause of concern. The right course of action would be to talk to your colleagues first and get their support in this matter.
Draft a few concrete examples about how your immediate boss’s ineptitude has cost the organization time and money. Make sure you mention what extra tasks and responsibilities the other team members have taken up to cover for the boss’s lack of competence. Top bosses are not likely to ignore a complaint that is this serious and are certain to take some positive action.
I don’t think anything will work, should I quit?
If you have tried everything possible to keep the peace and to work out the issues you face with your immediate boss without any positive outcome, then quitting is the right step to take. The important concern here is to make sure that you are convinced there is nothing that can make you stay. Neither should you feel guilty about leaving even if you liked the job role that was assigned to you. Research shows that the negativity and stress which results in dealing with a toxic boss, can create havoc in other parts of life too. For example, it could disrupt a much-needed night of rest and even mental well-being.
If you have made the decision to quit, then searching for another job while you are still employed at the present company, is advised. Quitting and then job searching (unless you want to take a meaningful sabbatical), could lead to a big time gap on your resume which could influence future employment.