Office Coach: Inept IT manager requires a fresh fix

Marie G. McIntyre
Tribune News Service

Q. About a year ago, a totally incompetent person was hired to head our IT department. “Kyle” has demonstrated time and again that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Although several people have complained, our manager doesn’t seem to understand the problem. When I went over her head to the president, he refused to discuss the issue.

On my last performance review, I received a lower rating because my boss said I was unwilling to assist Kyle, even though I have tried to help him see his mistakes. The whole situation has become so frustrating that I feel sick every day at work and can’t stop thinking about it when I’m at home.

Now I’m at the end of my rope and don’t know what to do. Should I continue to escalate the problem or just give up?

A. If you want to sacrifice your career for the sake of a better IT department, that is certainly your prerogative. So far, however, your martyrdom doesn’t seem to be accomplishing much.

Kyle might be a complete train wreck, but management apparently doesn’t see it.

Even worse, your efforts to depose him appear to have backfired.

Kyle continues to screw up without repercussions, while you are feeling sick at work, obsessing at home, displeasing your boss and getting a bad review. So who is winning this contest?

On top of that, your lowered rating indicates that management now considers you part of the problem.

Although this may seem unfair, it’s a clear sign that you need to change your strategy.

Having provided evidence of Kyle’s incompetence, you must accept the fact that you have done all you can do to influence the situation.

To prevent further career damage, just work cooperatively with Kyle and hope the higher-ups recognize his failings. If it makes you feel any better, remember that IT touches all areas of the business, so serious errors almost always surface. Therefore, the odds are good that Kyle’s ineptitude will eventually lead to a disaster.

Q. Several years ago, I had a traumatic brain injury, from which I have now fully recovered. My manager, who will be leaving soon, recently decided to share the story of my injury with his replacement.

When I indicated that this seemed inappropriate, my boss apologized profusely. However, I’m still concerned that my medical history may cause the new manager to doubt my abilities.

How can I keep this from happening?

A. Your boss’s thoughtless disclosure was totally out of line and possibly illegal. Practically speaking, however, continuing to chastise him would be counterproductive. Instead, request his assistance in reversing the damage.

For example: “I’m concerned that knowledge of my brain injury might cause the new manager to question my competence. If you could explain that I have made a complete recovery and that my work is not affected in any way, I would really appreciate it.”

Your boss’s reassurance should help to counteract any misunderstandings.

Then, once the new manager is on board, you can decide whether to offer additional clarification or let your accomplishments speak for themselves.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”

Twitter: @officecoach