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Question
Posted by: Koos | 2011-10-07

My boss is like a church elder

Hi, I am trying to figure out how best to deal with my boss who is very rigid in his thinking. To cut a long story short, he is a classic example of the dunning-Kruger effect. I am a very talented electrician and a member of Mensa ( not tryin to boast, merely giving background), so it is fair to assume I know what I am doing, yet he always wants to act as if he knows a better way of performing a certain technical task for which he has no education or experience (he has a degree in commerce or something, and no technical background).

Many of my colleagues have tried making him see that we aren''t all semi-retarded drones but all highly regarded in our industry, to no avail. So rather than asking you to give me advice on changing HIS behaviour, I hope you can give me advice on handling him in the most beneficial way. I really don''t want to lose my temper with him, and engaging him in an argument/debate just makes him flustered, which makes him even MORE adamant that he is right, facts and contrary evidence be damned.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Apparently his way of behaving isn't really about you, but about him, perhaps his sense of inferiority, and his attempts to appear like a very competent boss. Short of his enthusiastic voluntary participation in skilled psychological treatment he isn't, indeed, likely to change. But, as you recognize, changing your responses to him may help you both.
You can thank him politely and pleasantly for his advice, and continue to do things the right way rather than his way. As you say, confronting and challenging him will only make him more stubborn and determined to prove himself RIGHT in everything. But behaving as I suggest may indeed modify his behaviour towards becoming less intrusive and absurd. Also, learn, as many spouses do, to listen just enough to say "Ah!' and "Aha!" in the right sort of places, without taking his comments to heart, letting yourself become immune to being irritated by it.
As Purple suggests, asking his advice even before he gives it, can keep him hapilly occupied without necessarily intervening in what you do.
Some people have an unconquerable urge to pontificate, even though they are not a pontiff.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Koos | 2011-10-09

Thank you for the advice. It''s much appreciated.

Reply to Koos
Posted by: Andrew | 2011-10-09

Have had the same sort of problem, when my supervisor tries to explain elementary things that would have been obvious to me twenty years ago,fortunately, being a member of a large and powerful union,I can meet him head on, without him being able to do much about it. I have told him in the past that he still has to learn what I have forgotten,and on occasion, I have told him to ''depart'' [put into the Queens English] Fortunately this person has moved elsewhere, but what I have learned is that sort of leadership style has its roots in deep inner insecurity,and a feeling of personal inadequacy.

Reply to Andrew
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-10-08

Apparently his way of behaving isn't really about you, but about him, perhaps his sense of inferiority, and his attempts to appear like a very competent boss. Short of his enthusiastic voluntary participation in skilled psychological treatment he isn't, indeed, likely to change. But, as you recognize, changing your responses to him may help you both.
You can thank him politely and pleasantly for his advice, and continue to do things the right way rather than his way. As you say, confronting and challenging him will only make him more stubborn and determined to prove himself RIGHT in everything. But behaving as I suggest may indeed modify his behaviour towards becoming less intrusive and absurd. Also, learn, as many spouses do, to listen just enough to say "Ah!' and "Aha!" in the right sort of places, without taking his comments to heart, letting yourself become immune to being irritated by it.
As Purple suggests, asking his advice even before he gives it, can keep him hapilly occupied without necessarily intervening in what you do.
Some people have an unconquerable urge to pontificate, even though they are not a pontiff.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Koos | 2011-10-07

I don''t believe that''s the case. that is why I refer to him as a " church elder"  rather than a petit coque (funny French saying).

Reply to Koos
Posted by: Purple | 2011-10-07

He probably feels inferior to you.

Ask his opinion on things, make him feel better about himself. Let him feel like he is the one in charge (which as he''s the boss, he is). If he is your boss, the better you make him look, the better your career will be under him.

Reply to Purple

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