Tolerating Incompetence

Because confronting them is uncomfortable, we will often tolerate people that we judge as incompetent.

But this helps no one. Everyone feels bad and distracted. We continue to tolerate their poor performance. They make up unhelpful stories about why we are so distant, curt, aloof, grumpy, unsupportive, etc. And the others on the team wonder why no one has done anything about this yet.

Here’s how change this. First, respect and forgive them. Quietly, to yourself, acknowledge them as fellow humans with the same cares, struggles, and joys that we all have. Next, describe specifically to them their behavior and its impact. Then discover their perspective. What we see as incompetence is often miscommunication or misunderstanding. Fix any misunderstandings then coach them to improve. If they can’t or won’t, reassign them to something better aligned with their talents and passions.

It may still be uncomfortable, leader, but way less damaging that continuing the tolerate.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Mark Strozier cc

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