I met my first boss who never made decisions, when I was in my in my early thirties. It took a while to discover what he was really up to. At first, I thought I was not giving him enough information to make decisions. He was, after all, a newly appointed European Director and didn’t know the company. But giving him time and more information still did not bring any decision-making. After several non-decisions and extensive consultation with my colleagues, we came to the conclusion that he was never going to make decisions.
At this point I decided to quit, what I now know most subordinates do when they meet a no-decision manager. I got away as quickly as possible. But it takes time to leave – actualise the CV, send it out, go to interviews, accept a position, resign and work through the notice period. So I had to spend several months working with him.
And I worked for him in a state of frustration. I was frustrated that he never made decisions. Here was a highly paid senior manager NOT doing what managers are supposed to do – make decisions, and the company and his hierarchy didn’t seem to care. But what was astonishing, was that he stayed in his job for three years after I had left.