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Friday Philosophy – Why is my Manager a Moron? June 20, 2014

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, humour.
Tags: , ,

We’ve all been there. We are trying to do our job, get the work done, fix people’s problems and make the systems we work on better. But our manager is a Moron. How can we do what needs to be done with that idiot in charge? How did they get to be the manager?

Why is my manager a Moron?

The simple answer is that he/she probably is not a moron at all. But you have to blame someone for things not being the way you want them:

  • You could lay some of the blame with your co-workers (especially Richard, Richard’s are almost always pretty useless 🙂 ) but you are all in this together, right?
  • The clients/customers are idiots of course, we all know that, but those problems are usually more to do with identifying what needs doing (and the clients should be handled better by that idiot in charge).
  • You could blame the people below you but you might not be in a position to do that (see later).
  • You certainly can’t blame yourself can you?
  • So that leaves the moron manager.

There are of course managers who are poor managers, and even some who really are not that smart and should never have been put in charge. They get there due to a number of reasons, such as being in an organisation where you get promoted just for having been around for a certain length of time. Or because they play golf with the right people. Or have had carnal relationships with their superiors…. But many people become managers because they were simply the best out of a limited choice or they simply did not run away quickly enough.

And of course, there are good managers.

One thing I have become aware of over the years is that the loudest and most persistent critics of managers tend to be those who have never managed anyone or anything themselves. I came across one chaps a few years back who was constantly complaining about his manager, his manager’s manager, his previous manager. They were all stupid, they all had no idea about the job, all of them were lazy. I asked him how many managers he’d had “Dozens! And they were ALL Idiots! All of them!”.

All of them? That seems very unlikely. Guess what. He had never been a manager of anyone or anything. And was unlikely to ever be a manager as all the current managers (a) disliked the complaining little sod and (b) knew he would be a nightmare manager, let alone a moron one.

Now that I’m old and bitter, I tend to be a lot less critical of managers, especially if they are at a level or below where I’ve managed at any point (I’ve managed teams, projects, managers of teams and, for a little while, a chain of 3 levels down – so senior middle manager I guess). The reason for my leniency is I have some understanding of what being a middle manager does to you.

  • You get told stuff that is not to be passed on and decisions are made for reasons not to be divulged. Which only makes you wonder what stuff and reasons are being kept from you by the management layers above you…
  • You are told to lie to your staff about things. Which only makes you wonder which of the things *you* are being told are lies.
  • You have to make decisions about limited resources and opportunities – I can only give one person a promotion so do I promote the best person or the one who will complain the loudest if passed over? I wonder if I should shout louder to my manager about my salary?
  • About the only time your minions come and see you it is to complain, tell you stuff is wrong, let you know that they want time off at short notice for {spurious reason – that is actually they have a new girlfriend and a terribly strong need to spend a week with them in a tent in the Lake District}.
  • You can see ways you could improve things but it is blocked by your manager, who is a Moron.

The bottom line is your manager is probably acting like a Moron – as they are too stressed out by being a middle manager to function properly any more and are constantly being sniped at by you, telling everyone (s)he is a Moron.

Yep, it really is your fault.

So stop complaining, do your job, give them some slack, stop slagging them off and take your manager to the pub for a pint, they need it. And if they are still a moron in the pub then, sorry, you’ve got one of the real Morons.



1. twoknightsthenight - June 20, 2014

I have had some managers that really are morons. Working in the technical end, I’ve had managers that were promoted because they couldn’t cut it in my position. I’ve also had some with no technical experience that are excellent.

I realize some have their hands cuffed as much, if not more, than mine. Most of that is due, as you pointed out, by people above them.

Having had to supervise and train people without any authority to order people to perform tasks or do them a certain tested way is even worse. So I do understand the frustrations.

Let me offer some of my criteria for judging management from the “people” perspective:
1. They will listen to all sides.
2. They will explain their reasoning and decisions, even if it’s something they can;t talk about.
3. They are there to help you perform better. They realize that if you perform great, they look great.

There’s a lot more but understand that what I’m relating is my ideals regardless of who or what they’re managing or their business/technical skills.

– Kevin Fries

mwidlake - June 23, 2014

In my opinion Kevin, your last point is the core of what a manager should be. The role of a manager is to get the best out of their team, both now and in the future.
Sadly, many managers seem to see their role as to better promote themselves and climb higher…Any one for the Peter Principle and the Dilbert Principle {maybe a later Friday Philosophy on those}.

2. Noons - June 23, 2014

In a nutshell: modern middle management is mostly about “pass the buck”, “kiss posterior” and “being a bully”.
I do agree with that evaluation, having been subjected to the moron species for many a year.
Sure, there are good ones. I’m lucky enough to have spent the last 7 years with some of those.
But there is without a doubt also a lot of the other kind around.
I know, I have to deal with them from time to time…

3. Friday Philosophy – Being the Best Manager | Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog - February 19, 2016

[…] manager” then either you have been monumentally unlucky – or else maybe the problem lies not with those managers… […]

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