Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Dealing with an Incompetent Boss
If you've been in the business world very long, it's likely you've run into a manager who just wasn't doing the job right. We need to know biblical principles in dealing with these people.
Someone once told me that you can learn as much from an incompetent or bad manager as you can from a good one, and I think that's probably true. But the learning is more difficult and painful!
One biblical principle we need to consider is our attitude toward those in authority. While we recognize that level or position does not make anyone better than anyone else, Romans 13 gives us clear teaching on authority. Verses 1 and 2 tell us:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
God has established authority as the order for the universe. And if it were not for the principle of authority, we would have nothing but chaos. The same is true in our business world. Authority is essential.
But we see so much evidence that many people in authority are neither godly nor competent. Can their authority be God-given? Yes, even though they may not use their position well or appropriately, their authority is nonetheless from God, and as Christians we are to respect it. To rebel against that is to rebel against God's order, and, Paul said, it will bring judgment on us.
Obviously, we're going to need special grace and strength to be able to submit to and respect incompetent management.
First Timothy 2:1 - 2 tells us to offer requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for everyone, for kings and all those in authority. We are to pray for those in authority, and we are to pray for peaceful relationships with them. Now, if you're dealing with an incompetent boss, have you been praying for him or her regularly? This is where it starts, and until you begin to truly pray for them, you won't see much change in your attitude or in their behavior.
Smart employees understand that their job description includes making your boss look good. The world uses that principle as a manipulative tool, but we have other reasons to do it. First Corinthians 13 describes the kind of love we are to develop in our lives, a love that is like God's love. And that kind of love "does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
One of the typical things that happens when we encounter an incompetent boss is that we talk about that person in derogatory ways. It's easy to do. A friend was sharing with me that her boss is very difficult and no one agrees with the way her boss runs the department. She has no trouble gaining confirmation from her coworkers that her negative attitude toward her boss is justified; everyone feels the same way.
It's likely if you truly work for an incompetent boss that everyone else feels the same way you do, and therefore, at lunch and on breaks that's what you talk about. Instead of covering up the offense, you repeat the matter and make the situation much worse.
If you work for an incompetent or difficult boss, stop talking about him or her to other people. Pray for that boss; talk to the Lord; get counsel from respected Christians outside the company. As Christians we are to ever be seeking to have God's love fill us and overflow through us to everyone in our lives, including our incompetent bosses.