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Mutiny in the office!

Dear Office-Politics,

I have been working for a program for 3 years now. It was evident to me from the beginning that my boss was not very competent, but I very much wanted to stay in my job. I did not even have to see him very often due to the set up of our program.

Now however, it has become evident that my boss is not doing his job. He is having to let people go because of this. I feel that for the sake of the program, he should be the one to leave. He gets paid twice what any of the rest of us earn, and that money could go towards more valuable staff members. After all, without us, he has no reason to have his job in the first place. I have spoken to a few trusted colleagues who all agree, and we are willing to take necessary measures, but are not sure what these measures are. We do not want to act inappropriately, but we also want to have a boss that helps instead of hinders our roles. Any ideas? Need more information? Thanks


Planning next steps

peter garber

Dear Planning next steps,

Trying to get your boss fired is obviously a very serious matter. Reporting this type of problem to higher levels in your organization is something that should be given serious thought and consideration before embarking on such a initiative. There are times however, when this is the best and perhaps only way to address a serious leadership problem in the workplace.

Several things you need to consider before going forward:

1. How does the organization’s top leadership feel about the boss? Are you going to present information to them that they may feel is incredulous or even slanderous? Could this be turned against you? Or do you think that your report will validate other information they have already heard about the boss?

2. Despite your negative feelings about the boss’s abilities, has he/she reached desired goals or results (or at least been credited for these accomplishments)? The organization may feel the “end justifies the means” if someone is reaching goals even if in an unorthodox manner.

3. Does the boss have a powerful mentor or sponsor that serves as his/her protector? In other words, is he/she “untouchable”?

4. Do you have any documentation, evidence, proof, testimony, etc. that would support your allegation of incompetence against your boss? You will be asked for this.

5. Has the boss done anything unethical or unlawful or against policy that you can present evidence or better yet proof? Again, be prepared to provide.

6. How will you feel if as a result of these actions the boss loses his/her job or is demoted? Will you be ok with this?

7. Will your colleagues who have also complained about the boss be willing to step forward to others higher in the organization to support your efforts to report the boss’s incompetence? Or might you be out on the “limb” all by yourself?

8. What if you are unsuccessful in removing the boss from his/her position as a result of your efforts? What possible consequences may there be for you? If you find yourself in this predicament, you need to understand what the organization’s position is on retaliation (which should not be permitted) and how it would apply under these circumstances. You may want to discuss this policy with your Human Resource representative.

Again, reporting an incompetent boss may be the only legitimate way to correct a bad work situation. You will be actually doing everyone, including the organization, a benefit by doing so. But you need to make sure that you have a good and fair case to make against your boss before beginning such an undertaking.

It takes a great deal of courage sometimes to do the right thing particularly when it may involve confrontational issues. Good luck. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Peter Garber, Author

Peter R. Garber has worked as an HR professional for over 25 years and is the author of many business books including: Winning the Rat Race at Work and 100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of your Boss.

  1. 2 Answers to “Mutiny in the office!”

  2. Feedback from ‘Planning Next Steps’: Turns out this is a mute point as he is not our Boss as of today! Even though my problem was solved, it was good to read Peter Garber’s response. It supported that my coworkers and I had legitimate concerns. Luckily the administrators decided to restructure without us having to go through this process. My supervisor is now someone that I work with every day. I have been given a promotion, and I am so relieved! Thank you!

    By Letter Writer on Dec 13, 2006

  3. This article is so very real life and it is alway nice to see what you are going through is not all in your head.

    I to am in a job where our boss is incompitant, we have went to the Head person on several occasions but are being stone walled because no one wants to do the deed. Our staff is at the point now that we are considering a letter of no confidence through our union. However now we are being brushed aside and they are trying to talk us out of it because they dont want to do any work for their dues we have all been paying for years and years…

    What in the world can we do. We have documented his actions over and over and he has now even comitted a criminal act in the office and still nothing is being done!!!!!

    It appears to be like a soap oppera, this can not be happening for real can it?

    By Out of options on Sep 3, 2009

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