Suffering the fallout from dumb decisions by your boss is something just about everyone experiences within the hierarchy of the work environment. He/she perhaps wants you to overcomplicate a seemingly smooth process that seems to already be optimized. Maybe they wish to create some weird file structure on the server that makes very little practical sense. Or perhaps ignore what seems to be an obvious choice for sales expansion. But as with anything else, things are not always what they seem.
Before assuming incompetence right off the bat, consider that there may be other factors at play. Below are a few reasons to consider when contemplating seemingly dumb decisions by your boss:
There is a larger play, and you’re not privy to the complete picture
Let’s face it, not everyone has “need to know” status. And the lower one is on the decision making tree, the less one meets that criteria. Very often, individuals in management are tasked with having staff execute tactical duties that don’t mesh with their concept of logic based upon their knowledge of how things should be structured. However, those commands could be part of a larger strategy that achieves some objective set out by leadership. Perhaps initiating a conversation with your boss about how the task works within the larger strategic plan can clarify things. Of course, if you are not on a “need to know” basis, you may just have to roll with it and execute as ordered.
Your boss perceives the move as benefiting their standing or career in some way
Trust me, if an organization of any type employs more than 2 or 3, you are likely to see conflicts between organization mission and personal agendas on some level. After all, no one works on a job (exception for owners) with the idea of totally committing to sacrifice their personal welfare for the organization, at the full expense of their own advancement and career. That seemingly nonsensical directive may have come down to produce a result that makes the boss look good. Yes, even if it does not align with the established vision, mission, or strategic plan of the organization.
THEIR boss is the actual idiot and they are just following orders
Unless you are the owner or the CEO, you answer to someone. And for most of us, that also includes our bosses. So, there is a chance that some of the mind-numbing things asked of you might not be your boss’ bright idea. That directive may have come down from THEIR superior. In a case such as this, your boss is actually the one hung out to dry. After all, your boss knows this request makes no sense on the ground.
They may have even attempted to explain the negative effects on productivity to senior leadership. But now they must direct their staff to put into place what is an obvious dud of a request. And your boss how has to be careful not to come across as one who is bad-mouthing leadership when explaining to staff why this should be done. Tough spot to be in, if you ask me.
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So, the next time you receive a request to follow a process you know is convoluted and actually adding to time it takes to complete the same objective, just know that it may have originated from some regional director hack with little to know understanding of how work actually flows through your organization at the ground level. Not everyone is built to lead, and sometimes it manifests itself in an order that makes it to the front line.
(Of course, they could just be an idiot)