Why Are Incompetent Employees Almost Always Your Boss?

Excuse the oxymoron in the headline, but I just want to get something off my chest. Why is it that incompetent people seem to find their way to the top of the food chain?

I find none of them to be charming or possess any leadership qualities. In fact, their very personality can shred cheese to bits.

Of the bosses I worked for, I found them to:

  • Be unable to make decisions
  • Ask subordinates for ideas then pass them off as their own
  • Lack clarity in department growth and direction
  • Halt professional development
  • Blame subordinates when things go bad, but bask in the glory when things go right

When I’m confronted with this, I immediately think that I can do their job. I question what is it that they do all day that seems to make them so incompetent. I’ve had bosses who would only work exactly eight hours a day, takes personal calls every day, takes over an hour for lunch, then complain how they have so much work to do and that there isn’t enough time in a day to finish their work.

But when my arrogance gets the better of me, I’m always reminded that it’s all about who you know. My former and current boss got to where they were because of their connections. Sure, they might have some inkling of experience for their role, but it’s always been that they knew someone who knew someone and they happened to be in the right place at the right time.

If I was offered a top role because of someone I knew, would I take it? You bet. But would I have the foresight to know that I wasn’t good enough to continue in the job? I hope so.

What’s your experience with incompetent bosses?



3 thoughts on “Why Are Incompetent Employees Almost Always Your Boss?

  1. There is a principle, the so-called Peter principle. It states that managers/leaders remain in a position where they are overwhelmed. Otherwise, they would further move up the career ladder. That’s a reason why many of the bosses seem to be incompetent for their role. Employees need to help them. That’s why they (the normal/non-managerail employees) are so important and should be valued! Cheers


    1. I like your comment, Mathias. I never thought of it from that point of view before. I think I’ve been jaded for so long with incompetent bosses that that’s all I could see and think about.

      Liked by 1 person

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