Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Agents of Incompetence

In the workplace we’ve all had to deal with co-workers or superiors that were incompetent. Some are truly incompetent, while others fake incompetence and are really just indifferent. Either way these folks are a complete drain on you and your company. These various characters are what I refer to as “The Agents of Incompetence”. I’ve come across these different characters and labeled them. Be on the lookout for them as they are hazardous to your health.

The Delegator. The consummate avoiders of actual assignments, these folks re-direct assignments onto you. The Delegator will prey on those not in attendance at meetings, volunteering those folks for projects or assignments. If the assignment is a success they will claim responsibility, if not they will throw you under the bus in a second

The Regergatator. Understanding things at only a high level is the specialty of The Regergatator. They will have plenty of publications and executive summaries on their desk. They will quote and comment on subjects as if they were experts. Ask them for more detail on a subject though and they will falter. They are the Milli Vanilli’s of the business world, all style and no substance.

The Egotist. This person is only interested in issues that pertain to themselves. The Egotist will claim to be your best ally, while you are handling issues or assignments that benefit them. However when you need assistance from them on your own issues or assignments they will not be bothered. The Egotist will converse with you at length professing their brilliance or accomplishments both personally and professionally, not allowing you to get in a word about yourself, your interests, or your accomplishments. They are simply not interested unless it’s about them!

The Shuffler. These folks never make a direct or concrete decision. They “shuffle” from side to side to avoid any type of real commitment. The Shuffler will purposely be unclear about their questions or requests as they are hoping you will clarify things for them and make a decision.

The Bobbler. During meetings or projects the Bobbler or Bobble Head will very rarely speak up when ideas or issues are presented. They will instead eagerly shake their head back and forth in either agreement or disagreement after the group has done the hard work of making a determination. They have no clue about what was just decided but want to look like they are contributing with their non-verbal “bobbling”.

The Anecdotelor. Usually a management person who cannot intelligently prove their point and instead uses catchy cliché’s, anecdotes or stories to explain something or prove a point.. We’ve all heard the classic stories of “eating the elephant one bite at a time” or the “more than one way to skin a cat” comments. Sometimes the Cliché’r will use one catchy phrase right after another.

The Riddler. This is also usually a member of management that attempts to deflect your questions with questions of his or her own. The Riddler tries to make it appear as if they are just interested in what you are asking and need more clarity. If the Riddler cannot derail you by asking questions, he or she will provide cryptic responses and act as if you are stupid for not understanding what they are saying.

Please feel free to post your Agents of Incompetence. I know there are more, but these are the main characters I have faced in my career.


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I know the Riddler very well! LOL

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