Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » What to Do If Your Boss Is Inco ...
What to Do If Your Boss Is Incompetent

What to Do If Your Boss Is Incompetent

If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone if you’re saddled with an incompetent boss.

Thousands of unqualified bosses somehow manage to hold onto their jobs. There are even inept CEOs who couldn’t run a broom closet, let alone multimillion-dollar corporations.

How Do You Know If Your Boss Is Incompetent?

Don’t berate yourself for not realizing your boss was a hopeless nincompoop before you took the job. How could you know what the future would hold back at the interview when you were totally focused on making a great impression? And your boss probably didn’t have any opportunities to demonstrate incompetence while being on his best behavior.

But now that you’ve settled into your job, the signs of incompetence can be likened to headlights on a pitch-black night. They’re unavoidable.

Common clues include:  

  • Inability to Make Decisions: An incompetent boss often waffles over decisions that should be made instantly.  

  • Tendency to Make Bad Choices: Ineffectual bosses often make poorly planned, miscalculated decisions. Miraculously, most incompetent bosses manage to save themselves at the 11th hour.  

  • Reliance on Subordinates to Get Work Done: Incompetent bosses may not have a clue how to get their own jobs done, yet they have the uncanny sense to rely on their teams to cover for them.  

  • Ability to Keep the Job Despite Failings: 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, they rely on their subordinates to get them through hard times.  

Take Advantage

Your situation looks far worse than it is. 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.

Try these strategies for turning unfortunate circumstances into an advantage:

  • Cover in a Crisis: If your boss is away on a business trip or vacation 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 makes your boss look bad. If you’re confident you can take over, you’d be wise to make the decision. Remember: Heroes are born in crisis situations.

  • Compensate for Deficiencies: It’s to your advantage to 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. For example, an incompetent boss will struggle with complex ventures. Guide him through until everything is completed. You’ll look good by making your team look good.

  • Beware: Watch what you say about your boss. It’s very easy to complain and vent frustrations about your less-than-qualified boss to coworkers. Without realizing it, you could be talking to the boss’s good friend or someone who wants to score points with him. Keep your opinions to yourself.
Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

DB Healthcare, Inc.
Posted: 05/30/2015
Minneapolis, MN
DB Healthcare, Inc.
Posted: 05/30/2015
burlington, MA
Vector Consulting
Posted: 05/30/2015
Sacramento, CA, 95851
Maxim Healthcare Services
Posted: 05/30/2015
Seattle, WA, 98101
STARS Behavioral Health Group
Posted: 05/30/2015
San Jose, CA, 95131

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-208