I’ve been working for the same company for few years now, recently they hired a new manager and I was assigned to be part of his team, starting a new project. I’m a lead developer in that team and I’m responsible for organization of purely development work, and all that’s technical-related, while his role is the administrative one, and we should work very closely with one another to make sure there’s a balance between business and technology and everything’s aligned and in place. In a very short time my manager has proven to me that he’s completely incompetent to do his job:
- He’s amazing on paper - I mean he has more years of experience than my current age is and when just talking in general “how things should work”, he’s more than great, but when it comes to applying it in practice, he’s just making huge mess and wastes everyone’s time. So I completely understand why he performed good on an interview, and why upper manager might have missed any indications of the problem.
- He has major communication issues and can’t communicate effectively
- He’s the micromanaging type
- He’s having severe problems using the tools we use in our project - even stuff like email
- He also never takes any initiative - if something needs to be done that’s his responsibility, somebody should explicitly tell him to do it, otherwise he never will
- Also, he needs me to sit with him and give him specific instructions down to “Scroll down, on the right you have a button that’s called Submit, press that button”, and eventually I end up volunteering to do his job instead, cause it’s gonna take less time for me to just do it on my own, and proceed with all the other work I have, instead of sitting next to him.
- He’s also the kind of person to blame everything on the circumstances or other people for him not being able to perform a task. It's never his fault he can't do something, it's either someone's fault, or there's a technical issue with the tools he's using.
After trying talking to him had no success at all, I escalated the situation to his managers, and they told me they’ll need some time to think about the situation, investigate and come up with solution. I described all the problems, giving examples of situations, and potential risks for the project. Meanwhile, I find the situation unbearable every minute of my work day, because things are just getting worse with every day passing and absurd situations happen 2-3 to 5-6 times a day. I have more and more work to do, plus his tasks, it makes it just impossible. I also need to spend additional time writing emails to fix the damages he does, or explain him something.
I don't want to just let him fail (not taking his tasks, not giving him guidelines, etc.), because I don't want to fail team's work and whole project because of him. At the same time, if the job is done, I'm afraid that upper-management won't see the real impact of the issue, just because we have results and there's no business problem.
Obviously, my long-term goal here is for him to be moved out of the project (I don’t really care if they let him go from company, but my personal opinion is that they should). If that’s impossible, I will ask for me to be transferred to another project or department, if possible. If both of those resolutions are not possible, I’ll just have to quit immediately and start looking for another job, but I would prefer not to do that, because I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong here.
Short-term goals: I can’t talk to the rest of the team about the situation while there’s no resolution from upper-management, and I cannot assure them that this won’t be a long-term situation (because I don’t know what the decision would be), and it won’t be ethical for me to even discuss my honest opinion about him with them. I already heard some comments about "how are we going to work that way", or "oh, god, that's gonna be a really tough project", not blaming him directly. They are professionals, I doubt that anybody will just start trashing him, but we've worked together long enough for me to be able to read between the lines what the real issue is. I’m worried that although I’ve been trying to cover up his mistakes and inability to do his job, it’s becoming more and more obvious and people will get demotivated and fresh up their resumes, if they haven't done that already. Once they walk this path, it would be easier to just keep moving on it than staying, even if the decision is taken before they actually quit, and is the best one possible, they’ll eventually quit. What I mean here is that even if my long-term goal is achieved and this person is not working with us anymore, I may end up not having a team to work with, and those guys are really great at their jobs. It's all like the butterfly effect and I can't seem to find a win-win situation out of this problem.
I guess my question is: What can I do to keep team motivated while waiting for a resolution? How to further reduce the impact of my manager’s incompetency on their jobs?