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Part I: The Lazy Manager

Dear Office-Politics,

I’ve been working under my current manager for about three years. She is a very nice lady; however, she has a terrible work ethic. Routinely arriving late to work, leaving early, going on shopping trips or hair appointments in the middle of the day, surfing the net or playing Solitaire for several hours, etc.

Because I report directly to her, I am often the recipient of all her work. Any assignment that she receives ends up on my desk. People around the office notice her lack of work ethic, and have talked to HR. However, the HR director has told me and others, “not to be a tattletale.”

There is another person above her on the VP level. I have been debating talking to him, even though HR has told me to not to. I just don’t understand how a company can hang onto someone who doesn’t pull their weight. Please advise. Thank you!!


How Do I Deal With A Lazy Manager

arnie herz

Dear How Do I Deal With A Lazy Manager:

Thanks for writing. This would drive me nuts. I am sorry to hear of your situation.

It seems to me that Lazy Manager won’t change. Therefore, let’s focus on what you need to feel better about the situation.

Is the problem really Lazy Manager or that management does not care about your feelings and needs? How would you feel if management told you clearly that they know this is a bad situation for you, that they are aware of the aggravation it causes you and that you are a most valued and appreciated employee? Now let’s say they back it up by giving you a raise and you get direct access to Lazy Manager’s supervisor? If you are smiling because this scenario would make you happy, then perhaps Lazy Manager is a necessary kick to get you to stand up for yourself and get what you really need from your employer.

Once you know what you need, then you can go to management and communicate and ask for it directly. First ask HR and if she does not give you what you want, go to the VP. If management can’t give you what you need, then it is time to look for a new job. Of course, don’t burn any bridges in the process. You don’t want to find yourself unemployed and having to scramble to find a new job. Let me know how it goes.

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Arnie Herz

Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling. Visit his blog at LegalSanity.com

  1. 5 Answers to “Part I: The Lazy Manager”

  2. This is a great article because I understand what this individual is going through, I am currently working in a Biotech consulting firm and my team has 4 managers. Three of them are really just unqualified to be managers because they do not understand reimbursement or care about any of our daily operations. The fourth manager has absolutely no authority and I am not even sure she cares.
    We have a culture of rewarding fake friendship, laziness and interoffice relations and unfortunately we do not promote best practices and hard work.
    I am in the process of looking for a different job.
    Thank you for the great article and keep up the good work, you are not alone here.



    By M on Jan 28, 2009

  3. So sad but so true, Americans are getting lazier and lazier. Accountability and self responsibility are way out the door. Managers today are nothing but brownnosing bodies. Of course not everyone is like that, but I am seeing a pattern here.

    By Veron P on Mar 12, 2009

  4. I have the same problem. My manager has no ethics and clearly wants the benefits of the position but doesn’t want the responsibility. She refuses to learn the technical information necessary to evaluate our work properly. So, she depends upon me to know the information. She spends the biggest portion of her day on personal calls. She also goes to hair appointments, nail appointments, the car wash, post office, pharmacy, and any other place she can use as an excuse to leave. I want to transfer to another section and have tried two times, but they won’t let me leave, because rather than making her learn, it’s easier to make it my problem. So, she’s free to goof off all day. Her boss is a softie and won’t manage her, so she runs all over him. Because he refuses to grow a backbone, that sends a message to the staff that he doesn’t care about us. So, we’ve all lost respect for him, too. It seems that the whole world revolves around keeping this worthless manager happy. It’s a dysfunctional mess. And, I hate my work. I learned the work, because it’s my job to know it, but I’ve never gotten any fulfillment out of it, and it’s not where my talents lie. I’m stuck with something I hate when I have other abilities where I could truly excel and benefit our agency. It isn’t feasable for me to leave the agency, because I’m only a few years from retirement.

    By Clare on Apr 3, 2009

  5. Clare,

    I feel your pain; I have the same problem and worse because it’s just not one manager but 4 managers. They are lazy and incompetent. Hang in there, you are almost done and enjoy your retirement! You deserve it.

    By Samuel on Apr 29, 2009

  6. I’m in a similar situation – but probably worse. Thanks for posting this one as I felt better right away knowing I wasn’t alone. My siuation might be worse than most as I work for a small company and I’m the only person on the lazy mgr’s team, very sad case indeed. Laziness alone may be bad and damaging enough, but my mgr is also very incompetent (she can’t even open an Excel spreadsheet which is 80% of our day to day job). She clearly got the VP job with connections, and her strength is definitely politics, so her job is quite secure, unfortunately. I’m looking for the earliest oppty to bail – there’s no point to waste your time or ruin your wellbeing messing around in a company that doesn’t even see such obvious problem anyway. My only concern is, a few yrs down the road, when I look for my next-next job, and the future hiring team may ask for “her” reference in which case I’ll have a hard time (but oh well, maybe she’ll be retired or long gone then – can’t think that far out anyway). Wish us all best of luck!

    By michael on Oct 11, 2015

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