Evaluate Incompetence At Work – Explore Factors And Reasons Causing It In The Modern Workplace

Incompetence at work is something managers all the way up to the very top echelons shudder at. Of all the resources that go into the factors of production, human resources are the most profitable and also the most fallible.

Each run of the corporate hierarchy is under pressure to keep incompetence at work to a minimum. They angle to attack this issue in myriad, multi-pronged ways and root it out from the very beginning. The efforts begin from the outset of putting together a team – the recruitment stage – which is an important human resource function.

The study of how to manage incompetence at work at the consequent stages when an employee has been inducted and found to fall short of performance metrics requires deep and deliberate study.

You might also be interested to read: Tips And Tricks To Build A Curious Workforce

There are many reasons for job incompetence. Some are explored here:

How to manage incompetence at work? – The question merits research and exploration all the more because no one intentionally wants to demonstrate work incompetence. Almost always, there are underlying reasons for outward incompetence at work. To resolve them, they need to be understood with deep awareness.

Skill-gap: If a worker’s skills are vastly separated from the areas in which they are required to demonstrate ability, incompetence begins to show. The gap may not be apparent immediately. In some cases, the gap is hidden and becomes apparent only in crunch situations.

Communication-gap: When the job description and the full gamut of functions to be performed are not explained to the employee, a gap builds as to the role that needs to be fulfilled. This is a gap that can be filled in with meetings, extra-clear communication, note-taking, and maintenance of checklists.

Training gap: Sometimes, the company does not recognize that the gap in understanding processes and procedures can be bridged by a bout of training. For several reasons such as increased employee engagement, heightened trust, and motivation levels to do a job well, training is a better re-course than bearing with the incompetence or going over the hiring process all over again.

Laziness: This is the most serious state for a business because how to deal with lazy incompetent coworkers becomes a source of stress that can lead, at its worst, to increased attrition.

On the one hand, when an organization does not address the concern of how to deal with lazy incompetent workers, more employees tend to cross over to the non-performing areas. On the other hand, they often have little motivation in improving their performance.

Once the reasons for incompetence at work are identified, they need to be cross-checked. Evaluation from various quarters is required because a single manager or superior’s opinion cannot suffice to brand an employee as incompetent at their job.

Also, it could be that an underperforming employee is working for an incompetent boss in which case both levels have to be evaluated for incompetence and possible disruption.In the case of a team’s performance, members should explore how to deal with incompetent co-workers and find ways to help one another cross hurdles. This approach strengthens the team and finds ways of mitigating incompetence at work.


  • Anupriyo Mallick, Re-visiting principle of Incompetence, Business Manager, October 1, 2016
  • Sam Ashe-Edmunds, What Are the Causes of Incompetence in the Workplace? Chron

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