My department is between managers and the boss has got their spouse to fill in the role. It could be a couple months before a new manager is in place.

In the meantime, how do I handle this situation? We have a lot of work to do and the spouse only works alongside us occasionally. From my experience they state the obvious a lot. Not only that but they go into huge speeches to prove their point (which we all agree with and figured out ages ago.)

This may seem like a small thing to ignore for a few weeks but really every other statement becomes this huge speech that holds us back, is sometimes utterly wrong or right and obvious, and I don’t know what would be a professional way of dealing with this.

  • Isn't the manager responsible for time management? If they hold you back then you have someone to blame for it.
    – UserMach2
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 0:22

3 Answers 3


The best way to deal with a temporary manager is to "Yes" them to death, do what you need to do, and let them save face at every opportunity.

If it's blatantly wrong, don't contradict them publicly, just say "I'll look into that", and then tell them privately, and explain to them that you didn't want to contradict them publicly.

If it's blatantly obvious, just thank them and do it.

Most of all, be patient, the person is trying to help

  • 58
    This is great advice especially when the temporary manager goes home with the boss every night and probably chit-chats about office happenings over dinner!
    – dwizum
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 15:46
  • @dwizum A work environment like this would get my resume polished up in no time. I'd rather work for 25% less pay than to be subjected to incompetence due to nepotism.
    – MechMK1
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 10:53
  • 1
    I just died a little. Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 12:43
  • 2
    @MechMK1 perhaps you're misinterpreting my comment. This isn't about nepotism. This is about how to treat a "temporary" boss. For all we know, the owner knows their spouse is incompetent, but is doing whatever they can to get by while looking for a replacement. This answer is great advice regardless. Also, I'm surprised you'd feel the need to take a pay cut just so you don't have to be tolerant of someone who's going to be your boss for a little while, simply because you're upset that the person sometimes gives speeches to support their opinion.
    – dwizum
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 13:33
  • @dwizum The reason why I mentioned a paycut was to show that I'd be willing to take a position that pays significantly less over a position in which I am subjected to such circumstances.
    – MechMK1
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 14:09

Give that person something to do.

The spouse knows they haven't been selected because they're competent; they've been selected because they were available, and for lack of a better option. They need to keep up the illusion of competence, while knowing they can't really be productive in any way for lack of experience, and they don't have the knowledge to find things to improve. They're insecure and feel the need to hide this somehow.

So, give that person a way to feel they're a success! Delegate tasks to them.

Yes, they are your manager, not vice versa, they should know what they have to do themselves, and what to delegate to you. But they lack the skill and experience to do that.

Find things that you'd expect a manager to do, even (and especially) if you could do them yourself, and ask your manager to do them, or for input about how to do them. Ask them to organize a meeting, to get some info from another department to whose employees you're not supposed to talk directly, whatever - this depends a lot on your company size and culture. When this works out, thank them for how they helped you do your job. Make sure you don't sound ironic or sarcastic; remember you have more time to spend on your job because your manager does their job.

Give them the opportunity to succeed, help them feel comfortable and secure in their role, and they won't feel the need to show off all the time any more.


It's only temporary.

Be nice to them and try to help them out.

Firstly it's boss's family and secondly there is zero need to antagonise this person. It's just a temporary position for them, not worth a lot of bother but the people will be remembered.

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