If you have not worked with idiots, you are in the vast minority. We all have some people that we respect and admire at work, and others that we just can't stand. If you are a hard working person who loves your craft, you will be especially perturbed by people above you in rank and salary who do very little and cause strife for others. The challenge when dealing with people in this ilk, and other peers who just don't "get it" is learning how to re-focus your energy on your own work, and the positive elements at work rather than getting "sucked into" politics and drama that leeches like these people create.
Rule #1: Excel at your own job, even when others who get paid more don't.
You take pride in your work. You deeply care about the quality that you deliver, and the craftmanship that you have honed over the course of your career. If you didn't, you wouldn't be reading this blog, but instead would be busy making someone else's life miserable with your incompetence. The more you focus on the quality of of your own work, the less significant the leeches will become. It is very tempting to lower yourself to the level of less competent people, but when you do this, you will never be happy at work. Happiness comes partly from self-discipline, and you will do better for yourself to remain disciplined enough to completely ignore others who don't do anything useful. At the end of each day, you will look back and say "Wow. I improved a long-standing process that used to take 5 hours down to 1 hour." It is very important then to write down these accomplishments. Which leads to the next rule...
Rule #2: Sell your hard work.
Selling does not necessarily mean that you mention every improvement at every meeting. But when the opportunity arises, you need to be prepared to say: "Listen, do you remember when it used to take 5 hours to do that? The reason why it now takes only 1 hour is because I put a lot of careful thought into the process and worked with the right people to get it changed. If you can drop it from 1 hour to 30 minutes, great. But it sounds like what you are proposing is going backward, not forward. Can you tell the group how you intend to improve the process?" Leeches love to sit in meetings with lots of high-ranking people and yap about non-improvements that they have implemented. When they start to tread on your turf, you must have the courage to call them out, or you deserve to be stepped on. Yes it is tough, and yes life would be better for you if you did not have to muster up the courage and prepare tenaciously for addressing these people. But, you work at a company that has leeches. What else can I say? Protect what you have worked hard to create, and don't let anyone take it away from you. If you sit in enough of these meetings, and call the non-workers out to the floor enough, eventually those high-ranking people will take notice. Use these non-workers' tactics to your advantage. They want visibility so that they can yap a bunch of corporate-babble to higher-ups. Taking them to task in front of the big boss will instantly reveal what they really are. Incompetent idiots trying to take credit for work they did not do. And you will come out smelling like a rose.
Rule #3: Don't take the idiots home with you.
There is an old Japanese proverb that goes something like this: A monk and his young disciple were walking through the countryside when they came upon a stream with a woman standing on the other side, unable to cross. The monk walked through the stream and carried the woman across then the monk and the disciple continued on their way. The temple where the monk and the disciple worshiped strictly forbade the touching of a woman, so an hour or so later when the two reached the temple, the disciple could no longer contain himself. "Master, I have to know. Why did you carry the woman across the stream, when you know it is forbidden?". To which the master replied "I left the woman back at the stream. You carried her all the way back to the temple."
Leeches and incompetent people can easily draw in your attention, ruin a good mood, and sour a dinner time conversation. Don't give them that privilege. Leave them at work, so they cannot infect your family and friends with their stupidity and negativity.