I had a 20-something CEO/CTO at a startup whose technical knowledge seemed very limited, but he was also very arrogant and he didn't want to hear my ideas AT ALL. Here was a person who was doing programming (our app was his baby) but didn't know how to encode RGBA in a uint32_t (he thought alpha was the low byte), even though he had been doing UX professionally before this. He went on to make many very basic mistakes but he avoided being told anything, and he rejected the ideas that I presented, and he often refactored my code without my permission and while avoiding any debate about it, making my code harder to maintain. He forbade me from adding comments to the code, and he added his own mean-little-messages to the code trying to be condescending. Other workers seemed to encourage his delusions of grandeur, why I don't know. I ended up leaving as soon as I could but was there a way to diplomatically deal with his lack of knowledge?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Dawny33, Myles, Chris E, Jenny D Jul 5 '16 at 9:15

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  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – gnat, Dawny33, Myles, Chris E, Jenny D
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  • Seems like we have a double Zane. One that post, the other who edit. – Walfrat Jul 5 '16 at 8:33
  • This question has answers, although many are probably opinion based. Anyways, the OP's situation is not the norm but certainly not uncommon among incoming new-grads who don't think "good" practices are efficient. If it becomes obvious that simply telling them the answer isn't working then my usual next tactic is to simply ask leading questions that gets them to come to the same conclusion. If that doesn't work then I tend to let them screw up and use that as a teaching opportunity to reiterate what I hold told them. If that doesn't work then that person won't be working with me much longer. – Dunk Jul 6 '16 at 17:09

It seems like the most diplomatic thing to do is exactly what you did in this case. If he actually knew what he was doing, and the rest of the team supported him, the only way to reconcile your contradictory opinion was to gracefully step away and find a group you work better with.

If he had no idea what he was doing, as you suggest, and everyone else on the team still supported him, you should have done the same thing but doubly as fast. Either way, finding yourself as a subordinate to someone who has blatantly different core methodology, and doesn't want to hear your ideas "AT ALL" is an unfortunate incompatibility. It sounds like any other approach would have simply caused frustration, followed by the same end result: you walking a different path.

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