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Cover image for Managing Incompetence: An Innovative Approach for Dealing with People

Managing Incompetence: An Innovative Approach for Dealing with People

dvddpl profile image Davide de Paolis Originally published at dvddpl.github.io ・2 min read

Day-in, day-out, managers and supervisors face a myriad of personalities in the workplace. Managing these individual characters can sometimes drive even the calmest boss into a frenzy. Here, is a humorous, yet practical and effective title on how to deal with all those seemingly ‘incompetent' people on your staff.

Managing incompetence - book cover

I got this book for Christmas from a friend who wanted to make fun of me since I became a Technical Lead last year:

You are an annoying perfectionist and know-it-all, you will have a hard time managing people... :-)

I love mankind. I hate people

Of course, I smiled at the title and the book got me hooked and I read it in less than 2 days.

I both liked it and didn´t like it.

I didn't like it because the title is actually a bait, a catchphrase. I really expected some humorous stories about incompetent colleagues and bosses, followed by plenty of advice about how to cope with rage and frustration and tips on how to improve the performances (or at least reduce the damage) of those incompetent people surrounding you.

But the main subject of the book is understanding the idea itself of incompetence and recognizing our own incompetence in managing people.

I liked it because it forces you to review your attitude towards the people surrounding you, it forces you to realize how much we could have been affected by the "Surrounded by incompetent people" syndrome.

The Fougi method is a template helping us to diagnose properly what we interpreted as incompetence.

What is incompetence after all?

Normally we tend to diagnose poor performances as incompetence and to attribute that to lack of motivation or incapability.

Either the person is stupid ( can´t do ) or lazy ( don't want to do ).

The method suggested in the book lists 10 root causes why people won't do what they are told ( and therefore we list them as underperforming and incompetent) and provide helpful examples of how to solve the issue. ( of which,
of course, firing / relocating is the very last resort)

Communication, empathy, specificity, training, gratefulness, and forgiveness. Change the perception of problems, the attitude towards mistakes, and focus on what YOU can do to help.

Who´s gotta change?

Another reason I didn´t like the book was that I thought it was going to be funny and helpful to change and improve others.
On the other hand, it´s full of quotes ( and I love quotes!) and in the end what matters is improving ourselves ( if we can become better colleagues and leaders, we will ultimately help others achieving theirs and our team's goals)

Discussion (1)

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Jose Luis Ramos T.

Todo un reto. Muy interesante este artículo, gracias.