My Boss REALLY is an Idiot!

by Joe Lavelle on September 17, 2009

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My Boss Really is an Idiot

I have previously warned against campaigning that your boss is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Now I want to explain how your boss being an idiot is actually a great opportunity for you.

First, I must warn that many people that I have coached have errantly concluded that their boss was an idiot.   A common problem is that employees lack critical understanding of their boss’s job, their department’s function, and of how their company makes profits and they become frustrated with their boss because they have unrealistic expectations.   So, before concluding that you work for a dunce, make sure that you have the knowledge and skills required to make such a conclusion.  I estimate 60% of the people that I have coached (including me at various times in my career) aren’t yet ready to make that conclusion.  If you are in the 60%, then YOU MUST stop focusing on your boss and you must start focusing on building the competencies, knowledge and acumen required to be successful.

Ok, so now we can start with the assumption that your boss REALLY is an idiot and that you are qualified to assess their lack of competence.  You have been assigned to work for a real lemon.  How is this an opportunity and how do you seize the opportunity?

If you are able to recognize that your boss in an idiot, it will be clear to others.  Therefore, anything that you do to make your boss look good will be 100% attributed to you.   The lemonade is flowing….

So here is how you take advantage of the opportunity:

  • Pick a function or two in your department that is clearly broken or underperforming.  Create a plan to fix the function and present it to your boss (or if the idiot is unapproachable, fix it on the down-low).  Measure the results and record them for input to your next performance review.
  • As you have capacity repeat this process looking for items of bigger and bigger proportion, even those outside your department, that need fixing.
  • Keep your head down, don’t worry about “grabbing credit”, keep your focus on improving the performance of your department and your company UNTIL
  • In preparation for your next performance review, present your boss with a summary of your accomplishments with the measured results to make sure that they are included in your review.

If you follow this plan, your department will be transformed and your IDIOT boss may even get credit, but everyone will know who made it happen.  No matter what, in the process you will get the visibility and exposure you need to ensure that you get promoted faster and that you get bigger raises.  It may require some patience as “the system” catches up with your superior performance, but you will soon be on the fast track at your company or at another company that notices your accomplishments.

I hope that you follow Keith Ferrazzi’s blog, he has a great post on getting promoted that I found after writing this post.

You may think this sounds too simple to work. That is the beauty of it.  It has worked for hundreds of people that I have coached, either as direct employees, as consulting clients or as coaching clients.  If you are not confident that you can do this on your own, please contact me for help and support.  Additionally, if you are in the 60% that need to build your skills and you need direction on that, please contact me for help and support.

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