Maloney & Associates, LLC Management & Educational Consulting

maloney & associates, llc blog

Maloney & Associates, LLC Blog


Ever Worked for or With an Idiot?


All too many times in coaching and counseling people who work throughout the hierarchy of organizations, I have heard them tell me that they have a work partner who is an idiot or they work for an idiot! It proves an interesting road to traverse. Typically, the conversations go something like this…

Client:You would not believe the idiot they promoted and now I have to work for [or with] them!

Me:Really, please tell me more so that I can understand your situation better.

Client:Well, I took that promotional test too and you just would not believe who they gave the job to! This idiot doesn’t have the time in here that I do! Doesn’t know much about anything; no technical job skills that I can see. Just doesn’t seem to get it. Worthless if you ask me and that just shows you where this place is going. I don’t know why I waste my time here.

Me:Tell me more about what you do to make this person successful.

Client:Are you kidding, I am not a boss, nor am I keeper of the boss. It is not my job to supervise! They don’t pay me for that.

​Me:Help me understand this better. You think the company pays you to let the new supervisor fail and for you to not work together?

Client:Well, no; I didn’t say that.

Me:It seems to me that your company actually pays everyone to work together and help each other be successful. No one said that you are supposed to supervisor your boss, except for you. Isn't that statement really reflective of your perspective. Slight changes in perspective can go a long way in changing environments. This is especially the case in the work environment. How well do you actually like to work with this person?

Client:I don’t like him [or her] in the least; s/he got the promotion that I wanted!

Me:Listen to yourself. How is that his fault?

Client:Well, um, err, uh, it isn’t exactly his fault. Did I say that? Well now that you bring it up, I guess I do feel that way. Yet giving it more thought, maybe that is not fair.

Me:Tell me more about what you are thinking now.

​Client:Well, I guess I have not been fair with him. I mean we both competed for the promotion he got and I just really wanted it. I have been here a long time. I have a tremendous amount of experience and work hard; I guess maybe I am the idiot here and I could work better with him. Offer him more support. He has a lot to learn. Maybe he could help me learn what he did to get promoted…

​So the conversation continues. Many times in promotional and other work settings, this scenario can come to life. Employers, supervisors and managers have opportunities to watch reactions after promotions. These observations of workforce behaviors tend to confirm decisions made in promotional situations. They can be trying times, yet they can also be revealing about individual and organizational culture.

​Have you ever perceived that you work for an Idiot? Have you given it deep thought and tried to identify your own bias, as well as that of the boss? How have you tried to work together, be mutually supportive, to achieve organizational goals. Do you even give conscious thought to organizational goals? It might just be a path worth consideration and personal reflection.