My boss is incompetent and lazy

Blair McPherson illustrates how the view is different depending on if you are a team manager, deputy or social worker

My boss isn’t very good at his job. He has been in the same post with the same organisation for the last 12 years. He appears to have no ambition and seems quite content to sit out the next 10 years before drifting into a comfortable retirement. His boss seems resigned to the situation.

As the deputy I find myself taking on more responsibility, covering for my manager and supporting the team and generally doing a lot of his job for him. As a team we are enthusiastic and dynamic it is just the boss who isn’t.

We are making him look good!

My frustration has recently come to a head because senior management publicly praised my boss for a successful project which in fact he had little input into. It was me and the rest of the team who did all the work. We are making him look good!

He is not as good as he thinks he is

I have a very ambitious deputy. He has only been in post 18 months but clearly thinks he is ready to move up the ladder.

I have encouraged him and given him opportunities which will help him demonstrate he has the experience and knowledge to move up to the next tier.

The trouble is he is not as good as he thinks he is. His over confidence is seen by some as arrogance and his tendency to take credit for the work of others is alienating colleagues. He lacks insight into how his behaviour affects others.

I don’t think he appreciates how lucky he is to be supported by such an experienced and competent team.

I’ve made a few mistakes

I work with some really good people, I enjoy my job and I like my manager. But not everyone feels the same way.

I feel very uncomfortable about the way the deputy speaks about my manager. He is very critical and clearly thinks he could do a better job. He does seem to deputise for the manager at a lot of corporate and partnership meetings but this is making him rather big headed. He is so busy covering for the boss we have to pick up much of his work.

This extra work means I don’t get the time to be as thorough with my own work as I used to be or I would want to be. As a result I’ve made a few mistakes which the manager has pulled me up about. I am pretty sure he doesn’t realise how much of the deputy’s work I am now expected to do.

It looks different depending on where you are in the structure.

Blair McPherson is a writer on management and a former deputy director of social services

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