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5 signs you’ve got an incompetent boss

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In a recent poll on our website, we learned that 63% of respondents felt like they could do a better job than their boss. This could be true to anyone out there dealing with a bad boss, you’re not alone.

There are thousands of unqualified bosses in the world who somehow manage to hold onto their jobs. From bumbling managers (picture David Brent or Michael Scott from The Office) to inept CEOs, bad bosses are everywhere – completely incapable of managing their kitchen drawers, let alone multimillion-dollar corporations.

So, how can you tell if you’ve got an incompetent boss?
Don’t berate yourself for not realising your boss was a hopeless nincompoop before you took the job. How could you know what the future would hold? At the interview, your boss was probably on his best behaviour (as were you) and didn’t have any opportunity to demonstrate his or her general lack of skill.

But now that you’ve settled into your job, the signs of their poor management are glaring like headlights on a pitch black night. Common clues include:

The inability to make decisions: This is an important skill for any leader. An incompetent boss will often waffle over decisions that should be made instantly. If they palm off the decision to someone else, that’s even worse.

A tendency to make bad choices: Bad bosses often make poorly planned and miscalculated decisions. Often, many of them are somehow able to save themselves at the 11th hour, meaning everyone is none-the-wiser about their complete screw up.

Reliance on subordinates to get work done: Incompetent bosses may not have a clue how to get their own jobs done, so they rely on their teams to cover for them… all the time. What do they actually do? We’ll never know.

Ability to keep their job despite sucking at it: You’d be shocked how many inept bosses hold onto their jobs despite their failings. Many management consultants have yet to figure out why. Typically, it’s because they rely on other people to do their work for them, or they have a relationship and pull with the heads of the business.

But not all is lost! Don’t be so quick to take the first new job you can find just to get away from your boss. Learning to adjust could be a career-enhancing experience. Incredible as it seems, your boss’s ineptitude could be a blessing.

For example, you have the chance to stand out by becoming an asset to your boss. The more you do and accomplish, the better it looks on your resume. It also scores points with management and potential employers.

Learn how to cover in a crisis: If your boss is away on business and an issue requiring instant decision-making arises, you have two choices: either turn the problem over to a senior manager, or make the decision yourself. Calling in senior managers could be the answer, but depending on the situation it could also make your boss look bad. If you’re confident you can make the right call, you’d be wise to make the decision.

Compensate for their deficiencies: Discover your boss’s weak spots and help him in those areas. You want to be part of a winning team, and your boss is this team’s captain. You will get much further in a company if you associate yourself with successful projects. You’ll look good by making your team look good.

Bite your tongue: Gossip spreads. While it’s very easy to complain to your colleagues or another manager about an incompetent boss, you’re never sure what’s going to get back to them. Keep your opinions to yourself and just get on with your job.

Want to BE the boss? Search for jobs by experience and land a role where you can manage your own team instead.

This article was orginally published on Monster Hong Kong.

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