How to Survive an Inept Boss


As Samuel described his former leader, “He just didn’t know what he is doing.  He trusted no one and tried to control everything.”

“How did you handle it?” I asked.

“I focused on doing my job well.  I did not want to give him any basis for criticizing my work.”

“Did employees complain about the leader?”

“Absolutely, constantly.  I listened but did not offer advice.

“Did you have a candid conversation with your manager about how he could improve?”

“I didn’t even try.  I knew he wouldn’t listen.”

“Did you go around your manager to talk to higher ups?”

“I did not.  I assumed they knew.  And if they didn’t know, I don’t think they would have listened to me.”

“Why didn’t you quit?”

“I liked my job.  I liked the company and I had bills to pay.”

The employee further explained that he would often help others with their work challenges, and many started coming to him with their questions.  In spite of their frustrations, the team performed fairly well.

Efforts by employees to “fix” an inept leader’s faults rarely work.  While quitting is always an option, a better initial strategy may be to continue performing well and help others.

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