Incompetence and Arrogance
There are few things more dangerous than a mixture of power, arrogance and incompetence. – Bob Herbert, American journalist
Throughout our business and personal lives, we come across many different people.
Some are terrific. They are friendly, smart, accomplished and reliable. They are usually humble about themselves and what they do personally and for a living.
Then there are those who constantly are the center of the conversation, whether you want them to be or not. They feign humility, but every other word out of their mouths is an I or a me. Their stories sound almost unbelievable, because they probably are.
And, once you get to know them better (If you really care to), you find that they are some of the least competent, maybe one of the most incompetent persons you have ever met.
Yet, that does not stop them from boasting about themselves and their nonexistent, or even worse, accomplishments of others to whom they give zero credit. This makes them not only untrustworthy and unreliable, but arrogant, a very dangerous combination in any person.
It is said that if you have done something and it can be proven that you did. then when you talk about it, it isn’t boasting. I don’t know what it is called when you haven’t done what you claim to, but the words delusional, self-absorbed or maybe even liar come to mind.
The problem with incompetence is its inability to recognize itself. – Bob Herbert
Too often we come across this combination. I know I certainly have. One or the other is bad enough, but in combination is too much to take.
There really is no way to argue with people like these. They just plain don’t get it. Even when proven wrong, they will argue (Presumably to their death) that they are right and you in fact are wrong and the problem.
So, is dealing with this What Keeps You Awake at Night? It shouldn’t be, especially when you know that people such as this are not losing any sleep over the fact that they are smugly wrong about things.
So what can you do about it?
The first thing is to not lose sleep. In the end truth will prevail. It may take a while or those you deal with will just brush them off and move on. Even if they don’t, do you want to really be a part of a group that also doesn’t get it and allows it to go on?
What you need to do is to have as little contact with these types of people as is possible. The less you have to do with them, the less agitated you will be.
That however may not be possible. They may work closely with you and your department or even be a part of your department. It may then be in your best interest to find another area to work in. You may still cross paths, but at least you do not have to deal with them on a regular basis.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to seek employment elsewhere.
You may feel that this in unfair to you, but if a company is going to tolerate individuals such as this, is that really a place you want to work?
An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person. – Leo Tolstoy
What is truly surprising is the incompetence at the highest levels of various organizations. I have always wondered how these individuals are able to rise to such high positions. I hold people in those positions to a higher standard than those who work under them, as they are supposed to be the “best of the best” and are being paid big bucks to be such.
That usually doesn’t sit well with them and as you can imagine puts us at odds with each other. While incompetent people can be arrogant, they also realize their weaknesses and hate when others see it (You would have to be blind not to) and may call them on it. So they do not take kindly to those like myself who hold them to that higher standard.
This is not to say that all executives or business owners are like this.
But enough of them are to make it interesting for those who work for or with them. Much of the time may be consumed correcting errors or trying to work around these bosses in order to get things accomplished. I know from experience because I had managers such as these who I worked with or for. It takes a toll for sure.
Considering all that is written and spoken about concerning being a good manager or leader and yet we still have situations of incompetence at many levels in organizations. It makes you wonder how much we really pay attention and learn. To the competent it doesn’t make sense which makes it all the more frustrating. But such is what we humans are all about.
Once you realize this, it does not mean you have to accept it. You can make choices to move away from such individuals. But remember there are others lurking so you will never be free from them. Just learn to deal with them and cherish the able and humble even more so. And do not allow them to cause you one moment of lost sleep. Do not allow it to be the thing that Keeps You Awake at Night.