Key Leadership Strategies to Identify, Manage, and Prevent Office Idiocy

Office Idiots are those individuals whose actions, inaction, antics, and ridiculous behaviors generate widespread dissatisfaction and undercut the performance and productivity of fellow employees near and far and at any job level. Importantly, an organization’s leadership plays a critical role not only in terms of identifying office idiocy, but also from the standpoint of taking corrective and preventive action. The overarching theme is that when management ignores, tolerates, or even enables office idiocy, the outcome is destined to be a continuation and expansion of these counterproductive antics.

Not surprisingly, when managers and leaders act like office idiots, the population of office idiots in their departments tends to increase. There is no question that employees learn from their managers, and it is well understood that managerial behaviors and actions serve as models for the employees to emulate. As a result, when you find a manager who sits in meetings while texting and surfing the Internet on his smartphone, you will also find that his or her employees are far more likely to engage in the exact same idiotic behavior. And what should you do if you are trying to have a serious discussion with your manager or colleague and he or she is texting, glancing at the computer screen, and pecking away at the keyboard at the same time? You should say something, lest you are actually enabling this behavior. Tell this individual that you need his or her attention in order to discuss an important matter. And if the glazed look continues, simply suggest that the two of you meet later. In terms of the bigger picture, leadership assertiveness is a key element in dealing with most forms of office idiocy.

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About the Author

Ken LloydKen Lloyd, PhD, is a nationally recognized Southern California management consultant, author, speaker, and newspaper columnist. He has taught numerous MBA classes at The Anderson School at UCLA and lectures at many other universities. He is the vice president of planning and development at Strategic Partners, Inc. and a frequent television and talk-radio guest, as well. He has authored several books, including Jerks at Work and Performance Appraisals and Phrases for Dummies. A member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, he graduated from UC Berkeley and received his MS and PhD in organizational behavior from UCLA.

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