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Zero Competency

By gsbnair ·
Our previous IT Manager quit the job and his replacement commenced his work soon after. Now all the IT staff completed three months working under him and wondering how long it should continue like this.

Within the first two weeks, I realised that the new IT manager has no managerial competency and is very poor in managing meetings, discussions and he even forgets the objective of the meeting. The discussions will go on unfocused and in most of the occasions, the visitors/vendors went back with "nothing achieved".

I started forcing myself believing that the senior management has selected him because of his technical capabilities. But within a few weeks, I realised that I was wrong when I witnessed the technical discussions presided by him in which it was alarmingly clear that he is hearing the words viz., systems, integration, customization, SKU, KPI, stakeholders for the first time.

I, like any body else, would hate to work under such an incompetent manager where I will not gain any advancement in my career in the accademic interest as well as official interest.

If we had to correct him, then we should be prepared to correct 80% of his decisions/activities hoping he will learn atlest 20% from undergoing some management courses. Will it work or by the time we correct him, he would have taken wrong decisions that would have damaged the company and it's reputation !

If these thoughts are expressed in front of the Senior management, will they think that it is just a frustration from the change in the management ?

How to resolve this situation ?

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Thin ice

by Zen37 In reply to Zero Competency

This is threading on thin ice.

It all depends on how senior management has been open to employee issues before. If they were receptive, they may be open this time, if they ignored the issues or denied them, then it's not worth the effort.

If you do decide to talk to upper management, here is how i would do it. Find a receptive ear, invite him or her to dinner or a drink outside of work for a discussion. The fact that it's not at the office will make it more friendly and hopefully more open.

Don't demenish the manager in any way. Just mention that you've witness some things that makes you question if he/she is the right person for the job. Let them know that you are concern about the quality of the work, the reputation of the department and the company and all you want is to make sure we (we as in everyone at the company) will not end up in unnecessary hot water.

If they are open to the feedback of their employees, like any good manager should be, then they will investigate. Bring concrete evidence to then, no hear-say. It will give more weight to your words.

the main idea it to be positive, open and objective.

Good luck.

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Depends on how stupid you think they are

by DC Guy In reply to Zero Competency

They probably knew what they were doing. There are many reasons that people get positions that they seem totally unsuited for.

One of the most common is that the senior staff has another job in mind for this person but it's not available yet or not approved yet, so they're "storing" him here temporarily. Others include nepotism, blackmail, a handshake agreement with a supplier or customer, or a favor owed to the person or one of his friends or relatives.

You can see how it would not be a career-advancing move to take one of these things which your superiors are quietly trying to keep below the radar and **** it up into a big deal.

It's also possible that your superiors really are stupid, incompetent, or uncaring. In which case, again, it's not going to do you any good to march in and let them know that you've figured that out.

Or you could work for a big bureaucracy in which mistakes like this are common and can take years to be resolved. In this one case, you might be able to gain a friendly ear, get some sympathy, and convince a superior that HE should go up against the system.

What you have to realize is that the people who hired this guy are not stupid. And on the off chance that they are, that just makes it worse.

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I've worked for that person

by wordworker In reply to Depends on how stupid you ...

well a person who sounds exactly like what you're dealing with. I had to leave the company.

The new manager was promoted from within the worker bee ranks, despite the fact that he had marginal worker bee skills and zero people-management experience. He never had an original thought and couldn't make a single decision, it seemed, without seeking the counsel of the VP who hired him. He was a "yes" person who sucked up to the VP. There was no end in sight to the torture of working for this person. It was obvious the VP put this schmuck into the management role because the VP wanted a puppet, so there was no going to complain or report about the lack of competency. It was put up with it, or get the heck out. I found a new job.

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by angry_white_male In reply to I've worked for that pers ...

Sounds like my situation. Worker bee - good tech skills... in the right place at the right time. When the VP of IT retired, this guy was promoted by the easiliy impressed CEO at the time to Director of IT in spite of the protests of the CFO who oversaw the IT organization at the time as well as other senior level managers.

He's actually a good project manager and has decent tech skills - however, his leadership and people manamagment skills - along with is a communication skills are in serious need for improvement. But most good companies aren't going to throw someone out the door because of a poor decision made by the prior administration - so we're stuck with this guy for the foreseeable future unless he really screws up. Since he's making nearly 80k a year, and is only 30 yrs old - he's got no reason to leave anytime soon eitehr.

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Shine light in dark corners ...

by teeveedub In reply to Depends on how stupid you ...

I've been an independent contractor for about 25 years and I usually have involvement in long-term projects. A strategy I have used recently when dealing with just such a manager was simply shining a light on his incompetence.

A couple of my braver co-workers and I agreed to escalate all the most difficult technical questions to him, which made him extremely uncomfortable. (This technique is especially effective when you're on a conference call with 20 or 30 people listening.)

Also, whenever possible, we have politely pointed out to him the errors in his reasoning. (Socratic irony can be a very powerful ally ...)

The net result of this method is that, within a few short weeks, upper management placed a very competent person between him and us. Without upper management ever having to acknowledge the incompetence of this manager, they were still forced to address the issue.

The farther-reaching implications of "calling out" incompetence in this way is that we do a favor to the companies we work for. No company sets out to populate itself with incompetent people. But they somehow mysteriously accumulate like wax in an unwashed ear canal. But the heirarchical nature of the workplace usually instills so much fear in employees that the incompetents get a free ride. I say, "No more!" Do yourself, your co-workers and your company a favor.

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Good to have allies

by tagmarkman In reply to Shine light in dark corne ...

I've seen this method used and backfire. If you have brave co-workers then it can work you as you have mentioned. But I have witnesses a firing and a few hurt careers doing this.

The Story: a sister department of mine had a pretty lack luster manager. When the manager became "concerned" about this particularly bold developer, he started to privately write him up about anything he could no matter how petty (stuff that everybody did). During a meeting, the developer became "disrespectful" - but oddly not anymore disruptive and any other developer in the meeting. He was pulled to the side after the meeting by the manager with HR and was fired. Also, two of his "associates" were bypassed on promotions. A year later the manager got transfered to another office at the request and recommendation of his peers.

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by tagmarkman In reply to Zero Competency

There are many more reasons to put a person in a particular position than management or technical competency. Once you get into this... it's political so be careful.

In the past, when I have had managers such as this, I found they were "temporary." We fondly called them "bungee bosses." However, some are there to stay and that can be a problem.

Some companies have skip reviews, meaning you perform an evaluation of your boss directly with your boss' boss. Other times, it's more informal, open door policies or simply lunch.

If you do decide to escalate your concern, make sure you do it as respectful as possible. Don't bad mouth the manager around to your co-workers, don't talk trash, and don't question your boss in front of anyone (privately only).

When you bring up the issues, always talk about the product, never the person. If you slam the person it becomes personal, if you are concerned about the work, then you are a valuable employee.

Also... think long and hard about his/her decision. If you have a concern, ask. Although it might seem "stupid" on the surface, there might be a very specific reason for doing it that way (but from your explaination this is not the case).

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