Is there anything worse than feeling more qualified than your boss? Taking directions from someone you believe should be answering to you sounds like a workplace nightmare. But with no way to swap positions, figuring out how to navigate the issue can be tricky. 

Whether you believe he or she is qualified, your boss is in charge and should be respected. And going above the boss's head may put your job at risk. But should you sit back and let someone who doesn't know what they're doing take all the credit for your hard work? 

Employees are more qualified than their bosses

ResumeLab, a career advice website, posed this question to 1,000 employees to see how many people feel overqualified and what they would change if they were in charge. While the study found that just 21.7% of employees believed they are more qualified than their manager, 61% thought they could handle their manager's daily responsibilities.

However, among those who believed they were overqualified, there were significant differences between demographics. Millennials were the most likely generation to think they were more qualified than their superior, while men were more likely than women to believe the same.

Interestingly, though, employees didn't just think they were better than their boss; they also thought they had better people skills, a better understanding of the day-to-day work, and a better work ethic. 

Swapping positions

Swapping positions might be a dream for some employees, but put in a position of power, what would they do with it? Managers should note that the majority of people would use their power for good, like creating goals for employees, increasing employee pay, and fostering team bonding -- aspects of their company they likely feel is lacking.

Believing they were more qualified wasn't the only reason for employees wanting change, though. Around 16% of employees reported their manager as toxic to the workplace, possibly causing 1 in 10 to submit a formal complaint against their boss. 

While employees did stand up to toxic managers and file a complaint, that seems to be where they drew the line. Attempting to get their boss fired was carried out by fewer than 5% of employees. Filing a valid complaint against a superior is one thing, but intending to bring down the boss could backfire on employees.

At some point, employees may feel they know more than their bosses. And making the wrong move could make or break careers. Instead of subverting their managers, it may be best for employees under such a scenario to look for a different job -- one where they feel energized, stimulated, and respected for their skills and contributions.

Published on: Jul 26, 2019
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