EduReviewerBlogWhat to Do When Your Boss is Incompetent?
Career Advice

What to Do When Your Boss is Incompetent?

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There are always times when people complain about a boss, but it does not always mean that the individual is incompetent. Some people will simply complain during stressful situations or about some minor management flaws. This is completely normal.

There is a more pressing issue when your boss is incompetent, which will not only affect the workplace, but will prevent you as an employee from growing and developing skills to advance in your career.

Managers that are inept are quite common as many companies will promote a person for the wrong reason. You may be an employee that loves your job, but dealing with your boss or manager makes daily tasks nearly impossible.

If you are faced with dealing with a boss you believe is not competent, we offer some tips on what you can do when your boss is incompetent.

You can also rely on our information on what signs you should watch for that can indicate whether your boss has the ability to perform their job or if they are incompetent.

Signs of Incompetence in a Boss

There are some signs you should watch for if you feel your boss is not pulling their weight or does not have the knowledge, leadership skills, or experience to perform their job. Dealing with an incompetent boss can be a huge challenge.

To start the battle, you will need to know the signs of an incompetent boss and be able to point out certain issues when it is time to file a complaint.

If you run to HR and claim “my boss is incompetent”, you will need to have solid claims to back that up. Learn the most common incompetent boss signs if you are in the position of working with an ineffective boss and are looking to take steps on how to handle incompetent boss issues.

They are Out of Touch

A productive manager will be involved with all activities in the department and will communicate with all employees. If you find that they show failure to be involved or they cannot keep track of important issues, this is a red flag.

To be successful in the role of a manager, communicating with other employees and managers is key. If your boss is unable to work with others and has poor communication skills, this is a sign of incompetence. Since they are unable to handle employees, they should not be in the role of managing a team.

Poor Task Management Skills

Your boss will be in charge of a group of employees and must know how to manage multiple tasks. By being able to focus on priorities, things get done in time and done correctly. Effective managers and bosses will know when to say no to any activities that will take away time for priorities. These managers will be skilled at assessing resources and allotting time. Incompetent managers will not have these skills and will not ask for help when needed.

They will also procrastinate and push off large projects. You can also claim my manager is incompetent when they are careless. They will accept poor quality and sloppy work from team members and will set poor examples by not being consistent with their own work.

Lack of Production

As a manager, maintaining production rates is essential. Insufficient production can be caused by many things, including a lack of resources or unrealistic expectations. There are cases where managers will lack the knowledge to meet production demands and some people just are averse to taking action.

Learning how to deal with a lazy boss is not easy and if they show a lack of initiative and no urgency, this can present many problems. Even matters that are critical may be pushed aside.

These types of bosses will:

  • Fond many reasons to avoid making decisions
  • Will waffle and remain indecisive
  • Does not meet demands or results

Not meeting production deadlines will not only reflect on the manager, but on all employees. You may find yourself in a situation where you are always feeling “my boss makes me feel incompetent” and this is often due to their own lack of ability.

Does Not Motivate Others

One of the key signs you are dealing with an incompetent manager is when they do not provide any motivation or positive feedback. They will not work in helping others develop new skills or achieve goals. These bosses are not role models and will avoid making any learning opportunities available.

They are often threatened by employees that have greater skills. When dealing with an incompetent boss, you will also find these people disregard goals of the team and have an overall negative influence on the environment.

Unfortunately, these people will not provide any sense of motivation or positive feedback. Many times, they will make others feel like they are not able to perform their jobs.

If you need to learn how to deal with a lazy boss that does not offer any type of motivation, it will be very difficult to move ahead in the company as they create more roadblocks than pathways.

Dealing with an incompetent boss can be draining, but turning your focus on building your own skills can be more rewarding. If you’ve ever wanted to become a video game music composer, this guide provides insightful steps to transform your passion into a fulfilling career.

How to Deal With Incompetent Managers and Bosses


It is not uncommon to come up against an incompetent boss in the workplace. While it may seem impossible to deal with, there are some things that can be done. Here, we offer some tips on how to deal with an incompetent boss.  These may not solve the problem, but can help make things more bearable.

Stay Focused and Show Leadership Skills

When dealing with a difficult situation at work due to a poor boss, it can become very frustrating and hard to tackle and accomplish tasks. The best way to deal with these situations is by staying as focused as possible.

Keep your motivations at the forefront and stay on good terms with other coworkers. Since you cannot control the actions of others, focus on what can be controlled, which is your own productivity.

If you have a boss that lacks leadership skills, you can step up to fill gaps. Other coworkers will be looking for guidance and will often be grateful for someone to step into the role. Doing this can also improve the chances of being noticed by upper management and may help with career advancement.

Implement Holacracy

Holacracy is a form of organizational governance used in a workplace and it is designed to provide a way to fix problems that occur when managers are not effective leaders. Since a manager will be responsible for around 70% of productivity and motivation of employees, poor leadership should not be tolerated.

If companies are looking to see how to handle an incompetent boss, they may consider using this structure. There are pros and cons of holacracy. It will allow decision making to be done by lower-level workers and will also allow for employees to use their natural abilities and talents. Employees are allowed to select how they wish to perform work instead of being forced into defined roles.

While there are some great advantages, holacracy falls short in certain areas. With no use of a hierarchical structure, it is possible for smaller circles of employees to become focused on tasks and lose sight of the big picture.  This practice is not for everyone. It is best suited for employees that can thrive as independent thinkers and have the ability to self-manage.

Keep Documents

You will want to make sure you take note of all instances where your manager falls short or creates a negative environment for the company or coworkers. When higher management comes asking questions, you need facts to back up any complaints. It is important that you document any and all interactions with your boss if you have plans to prove they are an incompetent manager.

You can take notes after conversations and even flag emails. These will all be useful in proving a case while maintaining your positive reputation. Make sure you note anything that has impacted the ability to perform your job.

Leave and Move On

This is a last resort if no actions have been taken by the company. If you do decide to leave, make sure you have a current resume ready as you apply for a new position.

If you are an employee seeking work in the software field and want to show this knowledge, be sure you add GitHub if you have worked with this social platform to collaborate with other developers on a specific project.

Wondering how to add GitHub to resume? It should be provided in the same section that contains your contact details.

If you have experience with Agile, you will want to know how to put Agile on a resume. This can be placed under different areas. Some prefer listing this under skills, while others will list roles in Agile teams under experience.

Also, we offer you to get acquainted with a the list of professional resume writers.

Main Takeaways

There are many ways in which one can learn how to deal with incompetent boss issues. Unfortunately, there is not a single solution that will work for everyone. Since each manager will fall short in various areas and employees will react differently, everyone will have a different response to how they handle these situations.

If you are faced with a problem manager that has a negative impact on the work environment, your motivation, productivity, or affects other areas of your career, it is time to take action.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Stay focused and positive
  • Try upping your leadership roles
  • Talk to upper management about implementing holacracy
  • Consider looking for a new position if all else fails

Images are taken from Unsplash


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