What Can I Do When My Supervisor Lacks Management Skills & It Has Been Stressful to the Team?

A boss with management skills can keep your team motivated.
i Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Almost all supervisors have at least some type of quirk or minor fault, but it can be very frustrating when yours refuses to even act like a manager. A boss without management skills can't effectively organize and lead her employees, so your team lacks motivation and your projects or client relations start to suffer. If your boss's lack of management ability is driving your team crazy, encourage her to improve and become the leader your coworkers need.

Understand Your Boss

    If you and your team feel that your supervisor lacks management skills, try to understand why that is. Is your boss new at her job? If she previously held a hands-on technical position and has never managed anyone, for example, she might not yet know how to lead a team of employees. Your boss may be under more pressure than you realize, so she's having trouble focusing on leading your team. Once you understand the reason for your boss's incompetence, you can take steps to help to correct it.

Talk It Out

    Dealing with an incompetent supervisor may make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. It can be helpful to share your concerns with your team. Don't spread rumors or make nasty remarks about your boss just for the sake of complaining, though, however cathartic that may be. Instead, work with your team to come up with solutions to the problem. Ask your coworkers how they think your team should handle the situation. If you feel that you must complain and say negative things about your boss, do it only with people outside of the office who have no connection to your job, such as a friend or spouse.

Help Your Boss Succeed

    If you think that your boss is open to suggestions for improvement from her subordinates, you're in luck. Gently tell your boss that your team could use a bit more leadership. Offer to gather the team and hold a meeting to focus on ways your boss can improve. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, try giving your boss a book about leadership skills. Invite your boss to classes and seminars that teach management techniques.

Become a Leader

    Your boss, despite her good intentions, may be too busy or stressed to offer the level of involved leadership your team seeks. If your boss can't lead you, consider filling in for her or finding someone on the team who can. You might want to ask your boss for permission to take over some of her duties. She'll probably be grateful for any relief you provide. Leading your team will give you a taste of what it's like to be a manager and may result in new-found appreciation for your boss.

Talk to Your Boss's Supervisor

    If your boss refuses to change and your team is truly suffering, it might be time to talk to her supervisor. Gather evidence of your boss's incompetence, such as lost profits, failed projects or unsatisfied clients. Collect statements from other team members. If you've made an effort to help your boss improve, document every action you've taken. If you're not sure who manages your boss, take your complaint to your company's HR department. Complaining about your boss may cause your company to fire her or offer her management skills training. It can also backfire and make your company's leaders think you're a troublemaker. Only lodge a complaint if you've tried other tactics and they haven't worked.

the nest