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> managing by whatever is in front of the managers mind and declare it highest priority

Bane of my existence for the longest time. Eventually I learned to just ignore those managers. They're too chaotic to remember whatever I was supposed to work on for them anyway.

Ignoring seems to me like the secret weapon of the powerless. I like to confront, discuss and get things improved. But it is so hard to get incompetent managers up to speed, if they lack years of experience.

> the secret weapon of the powerless

It is. I've had a few managers where everything we all tried to change change were fruitless. The only solution was to either antagonize until things got out of hand, or to ignore.

> I like to confront, discuss and get things improved

That's a good initial starting point. But I've also learned that there comes a time when expending any more of my own energy fighting such people is no longer worth it.

> incompetent managers

In my cases, it wasn't incompetence but rather character. You can have rational discourse with incompetent people. You can show them why they're wrong. You can't have a reasonable discussion with someone who's own mind jumps from high-priority to high-priority, wanting everything yesteryear but isn't willing to put in the actual resources to get things done.

I've dealt with too many managers like that to expend much energy on it anymore. Mind you, ignoring them should be a last resort, but given enough experience with such managers, you learn to quickly know when you're dealing with one.

I'd much rather spend my time making customers happy.

"I've dealt with too many managers like that to expend much energy on it anymore."

You have many good points. And they match my experience. I'll try with less persistence.

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