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Working for a wannabee: How to deal with an incompetent supervisor

Unless he owns the company, a bad boss is probably living on borrowed time.

Bad bosses tend to be extremely insecure and defensive people, who are more interested in covering their own butts than contributing to the bottom line. In time, real talent is hard to miss. Those who have it are likely to rise to the top. Those who do not will eventually fall away.

In their guts, bad bosses usually know this. That’s why they are so difficult! They know they are standing on shaky footing, and they know they are not all they want to be.

My worst boss was a shrill and unstable middle-level advertising executive. I was fresh out of graduate school, young and bold and ready to take on the world. I did everything I could to make our department succeed – and make her look good to the higher-ups.

Alas, the shrew stole my promotional concepts!

After the first occurrence, I began keeping detailed files and copies of everything I did. I sent confirmation memos after meetings and carbon-copied relevant parties. With a year, I was head-hunted and received a position higher than what my bad boss had.

The shrieking manager was passed over several times, as others leapfrogged their way to the corner office.

As a dynamic employee, how can you deal with a deadwood boss without derailing your own career?

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Never let a wannabee boss steal your ideas!

Document your contributions. Just as writers copyright their work, keep dated copies of everything you do. E-mail is a simple way to do this. After a brainstorming meeting, send a confirmation e-mail to the other participants, including your boss. Summarize ideas you presented, and clearly outline exactly who will be responsible for tasks that were discussed.  Save this message on your computer. It will include a date and time stamp.

Deliberately include witnesses. Avoid one-on-one brainstorming meetings with the bad boss. Whenever possible, include a third person in such sessions. Try to choose a person of strong character, who will stand on conviction, if your manager tries to claim your ideas as his own.

Deliver quality consistently. Continue to strive for creativity and excellence. Don’t let one bad boss sidetrack your career or your abilities.

Develop strategic partnerships. Cultivate high-powered allies within the organization. This will deter your bad boss from subverting your efforts. In addition, once the bad boss is removed, these relationships will serve you well. (Perhaps your bad boss’ worst nightmare will come true, and you will receive his position!)

Never cover for an incompetent boss.

Don’t do it! Instead, cover your own responsibilities, cover all the bases, cover your mouth, and cover your career.

Cover your own responsibilities. Do the job you were hired to do. If needed, draw up a written job description for your position. Keep a personal file of your own, with copies of all performance reviews.

Cover all the bases. Be an indispensable member of your department or team. Help your colleagues, and even your boss, when you are able to do so. However, you need not cover his or her shortcomings. That’s called codependency, even if your boss’ family owns the company!

Cover your mouth. Resist the urge to join in the fear-mongering, the backstabbing, the idle threats, the unsupportable ultimatums, and the office gossip. Stay out of the fray. Do not engage your inept employer in verbal volleyball. Whatever your profession, be professional. Do your job as well as you can, even under the frustrating circumstances. True talent will surface, in time!

Cover your career. Keep your resume current. Follow up on interesting job leads. Take advantage of every possible networking opportunity within your field of work and interest. Collect written letters of reference, printed emails that affirm you and your skills, thank-you memos for successful projects, and samples of your work.

Don’t cover your eyes! Be aware of changes within your organization. Be alert to the possibility that the top executives are already aware of your contributions – and your manager’s shortcomings.

Hold on! A better working environment may be coming your way sooner than you expected!

Working for a wannabee:
How to deal with an incompetent supervisor
Created by this user, including public domain artwork

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Is gossip a blessing or a bane, when it comes to career progress?

Most of us don’t really enjoy being the topic of others’ gossiping. It’s often mean-spirited and generally inaccurate.

In fact, plenty of people take great pains to stay out of sight, when it comes to dicey situations. This seems particularly true in instances of potentially risqué behavior.

Countless career experts counsel clearly against mixing business with pleasure, professional with social, and work life with real life.

This content is copyrighted. Please feel free to share the http/link, but no cut-and-paste copying or republishing without the author's permission.

Maybe this sounds like a no-brainer. Only it’s not.

Some people actually do feed the frenzy on purpose. Maybe they simply enjoy being the center of attention, but sometimes it seems to run deeper than that.

I have a colleague who specializes in fueling the fires of fodder on purpose. Let’s call her Gertie – to protect her privacy, which she seems less interested in preserving.

Daily, Gertie posts extremely candid comments and statements on Facebook and other spots, highlighting her serial dating adventures and showcasing her self-proclaimed “bad behavior.” Her profile photo series includes an ever-increasing collection of “come hither” self-portraits.

On her career how-to blog, Gertie even writes about her shall-we-say social networking strategy as a means of drumming up attention for her own websites, instructing other web hosts to follow suit. 

Hey, it seems to work. Fellow web hosts and bloggers are gossiping about Gertie in online groups and even including links to her posts. 

Granted, one of Gertie’s websites is a celebrity gossip spot. Maybe personal gossip goes with the territory for readers. And maybe self-disclosure isn’t really gossip, which tends to target other people instead.

Apparently, Gertie is writing a roman a clef to detail her exploits. OK, so maybe she’s luring readers with her colorful status updates and racy photographs.

Perhaps Gertie is onto something.

On the other hand, what happens if Gertie someday seeks to apply for a company job?

If you were a potential employer, would you hire Gertie, if you read her blog or her book or her purposefully provocative posts? Would you take her seriously, disregarding her self-disclosed private life?

How important is a professional demeanor, while a person is on his or her own time?

Can the gossip grapevine help your career at all?
Created by this user, including public domain artwork
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