How to Deal with Incompetent People

Welcome back friends to another weekly video. In this video, we are going to talk about how to deal with incompetent people. Watch now!



The Problem with High Performers

If you are watching this YouTube channel, you are a high performing person.  Otherwise you would be watching something else. So you are probably hard working, good at your job, super smart, well dressed and well put together. You are a high performer.

There is a problem in business that high performing people struggle with: dealing with incompetent people. Incompetent people drive you insane. This is a problem you need to realize you have and how to deal with it. This is a conversation I wish someone had with me when I first started my career, because it would have saved me so many headaches.

First let us clarify what I mean by “incompetent people.” I am not talking about someone who you find generally annoying or someone you disagree with. I am talking about someone with high levels of incompetence. You are more likely to find this in larger organizations. For instance, an organization of more than 1,000 people, will have 1 or 2 of these individuals.

Occasionally you are going to run into these people. It is going to happen. You will be trying to get something done for your job, and while you are interacting with someone, you think to yourself, “Oh my goodness. This person is incompetent!” And then you think, “How did this person get a job here? How did they even get out of bed in the morning?” The level of incompetence boggles your mind.

Here is the problem. As a high performer, your skill set is getting things done. You are probably not good at dealing with someone who is not getting things done. So in this situation, you are going to feel offended. This person is wasting your time, and lowering your performance. You have made sacrifices to become good at your job. You have worked hard to build your career. I want you to understand this is a problem that is especially difficult for high performers.

What NOT to do

I am going to start with what NOT to do when dealing with an incompetent person. If you get nothing from this video, take this one piece of advice. Do not go into a rage. This is your natural impulse because you are trying to get things done. This person is an obstacle to you. Your natural impulse is to do three things:

  • Confront the person
  • Contact their boss
  • Get them fired

Do not do any of these things. These are negative actions that are not going to help you achieve your goals. So in dealing with incompetent people, you should NOT go into a rage.

What you SHOULD do

Now let us switch and talk about what you SHOULD do instead. I am going to break this down into three different approaches. Each one of these requires a different level of maturity. As you mature as a business person, you are going to be able to have higher level interactions.

Approach #1

The first level is to avoid the situation. Spend as little time as possible dealing with incompetent people. As soon as you realize you are dealing with an incompetent person, instead of going into a rage, try to focus your mind on removing yourself from that situation as quickly as possible. You are in the situation because you need something. But think about how you can get what you need and move on. If you turn the situation into a big deal, all that will happen is it turns the situation into a big time sink. It is going to take time you could be spending focused on things that are more productive. Do not waste your time. So if you can do nothing else, try to avoid the situation.

Approach #2

If you are able, you can move to the second level of maturity, which is to appreciate their contribution. Now this might be difficult if they are really incompetent. But I believe that everyone is trying to do their best. They might not be up to your standards, but maybe they have a different background then you. Maybe they have had different training then you. So if you can switch your mindset from “this person is incompetent” to appreciating their contribution, that shows your maturity. This cannot be fake appreciation. You need to really appreciate what they are bringing to the table.

Here is a newsflash for you. You are not perfect either. You might be a high performer at work, but I bet there are parts of your life where you are incompetent too. So instead of bringing frustration to a situation, assume they are trying their best. If the roles were reversed, you would not want someone to look down on you. Extend them a little bit of grace.

This level of maturity is something you need to be successful in business. You need to be able to meet people where they are at. Whatever it is that they are able to contribute, you should celebrate that. If you can surround yourself with people who are all contributing to the organization’s goals, that is how you become successful in business. It is not about your contribution. It is everybody working together.

Approach #3

If you can achieve that, you can move to the third level of maturity. This is where it gets tough. This is going to take a lot of humility. You need to realize you are the same. You and this incompetent person are the same individual. On a macro level, we all share the same human experience. We all share growing up, relationships, making a living, and death. It is true that we all have different experiences. But we are just different perspectives in this same crazy thing we call life. We are all the same.

If you can get to this level of thinking, it forces you to ask a very soul searching question: “Why am I struggling with this?” Why is this even a problem? What would your life be like if you could just let these situations go? If you can just let it go, all your problems will go away. Let me repeat that. All your problems at work will go away, if you stop struggling and realize that we are all the same.

The biggest realization here, is that YOU are the person with the problem. Who are you to be on your high horse looking down on everybody else? If you cannot learn to let it go, you are the jerk, not them.


We did a lot of soul searching in this video. This is not something they teach you about in business school. But this is valuable if you want to be successful in business. I am sharing this with you, because this is something I have struggled with, and still struggle with. I know what it is like to be at work charging after your goals and you run into someone who does not know what they are doing. It is so frustrating. What I have learned is it is better to deal with those situations with maturity and grace.

To recap, if you find yourself dealing with an incompetent person:

  • Realize the situation
  • Do NOT go into a rage
  • Do act with maturity

Leave a comment down below letting me know what you think!

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Neither Zach De Gregorio or Wolves and Finance Inc. shall be liable for any damages related to information in this video. It is recommended you contact a CPA in your area for business advice.

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