What is the level of incompetence

Incompetence: How to deal with colleague Großkotz?

incompetence is the absence of competence - and unfortunately occurs frighteningly often in working life. Not everyone can be proficient in all areas. But many people know about their weaknesses. It is often different with incompetent colleagues: They are unable to grasp their own incompetence. On the contrary, some even consider themselves exceptionally talented. That makes it difficult to deal with them. How you get along with such colleagues and what you can do ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Incompetence Definition: ignorance in relevant areas

What exactly does incompetence mean? Wikipedia gives more indirect information on this, so we try to approach the term by first explaining what competence is.

Competence is defined as that Presence of cognitive skillsthat empower the individual to solve problems in different situations. This definition is still fairly general and the fact that different types of competence exist does not make things any easier.

After all, competence is classified as trainable and thus seen as the result of a learning process. Often is of competence, especially with regard to different areas the speech. Seen in this way, it is clear that every person inevitably also has incompetence.

For example, someone who has a high level of mathematical competence does not necessarily have a high level of linguistic competence at the same time. In relation to everyday work, incompetence can be said to mean that an employee lacks decisive competence in the areas that relevant to his activities are.

Examples of synonyms for incompetence are:

  • weakness
  • inability
  • Unsuitability
  • Inability
  • inadequacy
  • to fail

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Reasons for incompetence in companies

The fascinating thing is that it would normally be expected that incompetence would emerge at the latest during the probationary period and that an employee would be dismissed as unqualified. Here, however, the following happens: On the one hand, it can be observed that some bosses tend to do so to encourage incompetent employeesbecause they cannot be dangerous to them.

This is the opposite effect of excellence. That is to say, first-class bosses attract first-class employees, while middle-class bosses attract middle-class employees at best.

The reason for this usually lies in the bosses' vanity, because of course their own The best way to hide incompetencewhen the employees have even less idea. Your own post is unassailable, status and power are secured.

On the other hand, the Peter principle can also be observed in companies. It is named after the American authors Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, who found that in every company hierarchy employees are promoted until they reach a position where they are overwhelmed.

That is, an employee has until his promotion Competence in its field proven, but is characterized by incompetence in his new area, as he is not up to the new tasks.

This is how incompetence manifests itself

Depending on Position and extent incompetence can have these side effects:

  • cluelessness
  • arrogance
  • Disinterest
  • idleness
  • Weak leadership
  • indifference
  • Megalomania
  • inefficiency
  • mismanagement
  • Sloppiness
  • greed

But also some character traits in humans favor this behavior:

  • ignorance

    The most obvious reason for incompetence is simply not having the necessary knowledge. However, it is not only a question of the fact that the person concerned does not have the specialist knowledge, but also that they do not have the cognitive abilities to grasp their situation and thus their ignorance. Incompetent people cannot see signs of competence. If, as with ignorance, laziness, stupidity and stubbornness come together, the person concerned is often convinced that they have all the necessary knowledge. He makes a number of mistakes because of his ignorance.

  • Unreflection

    People who are prone to narcissism are not necessarily incompetent, but are endowed with excessive self-confidence. This self-confidence makes them completely impervious to negative criticism. Their lack of self-reflection leads to incompetence, as they consider themselves competent in all areas.

  • Self-sabotage

    Incompetence can also show up in people who might actually be competent. You have the necessary specialist knowledge - alone: ​​You cannot apply it. They are so paralyzed by their perfectionism that they constantly procrastinate and thus self-sabotage. In the worst case, you will miss such important deadlines or deliver work that is half-finished. The reason here is often the feeling that you are not good enough. Those affected feel like impostors and suffer from impostor syndrome.

  • Overconfidence

    Perhaps the most annoying, but also the most common reason for incompetence is overconfidence. Research has shown that most people overestimate each other in one place or another, only the extent differs. The phenomenon has many names: hubris, overconfidence effect, overclaiming or the Dunning-Kruger effect. The latter is named after two American psychologists who found that the poorly performing test subjects rated themselves particularly well.

Incompetence: Sayings and Quotes

  • Some careers lead straight to incompetence.Unknown
  • If you don't want more than you can, you stay below your ability. Ludwig Marcuse
  • Elitist incompetence generates protest (voters). Even in a stable democracy.Frank Wisniewski
  • Some people only come up because they are wreaking havoc down below.Management rule
  • Anyone who does not contribute to the solution is part of the problem.McKinsey
  • Most would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. Nelson A. Rockefeller
  • Don't be afraid of perfection - you never reach it. Salvadore Dali

Reasons for incompetence

Already in the Bible it says: Blessed are the poor in spirit. And indeed, Incompetence also has advantages. Not for those who have to deal with incompetent colleagues. On the contrary, it can be quite an effort to iron out other people's mistakes just because you're on the same team.

And the work turns out to be very fatal, if of all things your own boss has no idea Has. But do you or your colleagues have any idea how difficult it is for others? Probably not. Because as Charles Darwin said so aptly:

Ignorance is much more likely to generate confidence than knowledge.

Psychologists Dunning and Kruger found in their work that most incompetent people do not particularly suffer from this fact - a side effect of being aware of it Unaware of ignorance were. What's more, they have no doubts about their ability.

In other words: incompetence contributes to the affected person's own Maintain self-image and thus to ensure appropriate well-being.

Dealing with incompetence

How can incompetence be dealt with? A difficult question, depending on the area in which and the extent to which it occurs. Is she with Power and megalomania or even combined with greed and corruption, the consequences can be devastating.

In an interview in the Tagesanzeiger, for example, the political advisor Daniel Levin reported on the efforts of the former Prime Minister of Niger, who wanted to prevent an invasion of Iraq at the time. His attempts to convince the Bush administration that his country no uranium to Iraq sold were in vain.

And the - as it later turned out: wrongly - presumed uranium reserves provided the American government at the time with an excuse for the second To trigger the Gulf War.

Fortunately, incompetence doesn't have to result in disaster. It also appears in more harmless forms. Because overconfidence as most common cause for incompetence you can encounter anywhere.

The best example of this are those countless casting showsthat leave both viewers and jurors stunned by the cumulative incompetence. The motivation of some candidates is difficult to determine. In the main there will be financial reasons and a high degree of self-esteem act.

In addition, however, is quite obvious lack of self-reflection to observe and that even in the face of competence. Because in direct comparison with competent people it should fall from the eyes of the inexperienced like scales.

So what can you do if your colleague does not seem able to see for himself how incompetent he is?

  • Sensitivity

    First of all, you have to be sensitive - nobody likes criticism, especially not when it is formulated in a destructive way. So avoid formulations like "You always / never ..." Instead, I-messages in which you describe your observations objectively are better. Nevertheless, it is possible that your criticism will fall on deaf ears with all the exemplary arguments presented. This depends not least on how much your colleague identifies with the work.

  • precise

    Another option is to praise your colleague in another area and highlight their competence. The subsequent negative criticism in the area where incompetence prevails can be digested better. This method from social psychology has something of the sandwich criticism, in which the censure is also disguised in compliments. Critics consider this procedure to be only partially effective because it considers the recipient of the criticism to be latently incapable of criticism. In the case of incompetence, however, this can well be the case - depending on which type (see above) you are looking at.

Other readers will find these articles interesting:

[Photo Credit: Minerva Studio by Shutterstock.com]