Creative Leadership

The Anger that Comes with Incompetence

One thing you can almost always count on is that deep inside, bullies and jerks feel incompetent. It occurred to me because I have three little yappy dogs that live next door. They are small, and pretty much everything scares them. As a result, they bark at literally everything and can bark for hours at a time. By contrast, I’ve always raised big dogs – German Shepherds when I was young, and Golden Retrievers as an adult.

The great thing about big dogs is that little things don’t bother them. They don’t have to bark or yap like little dogs, because they don’t have to. They are confident and are perfectly happy to just hang out. It reminds me of the great quote:

A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.

The lesson? Just remember that when you’re attacked by the bully or the jerk in the office or in the studio, they aren’t doing it because they feel confident, but because they feel incompetent. Their over the top behavior is simply cover for the insecurities they feel inside, and in truth, are probably intimidated because of your experience, expertise, or talent.

The great novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky said it this way: “The more incompetent one feels, the more eager he is to fight.”

It’s actually a powerful signal that you’re in control, not them.

Photo by Jonathan Sharp on Unsplash

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2 Comments

  1. I have personal experience with this, and it’s so true. This is a difficult situation to work in. Bullying is against the law and that incompetent person is a liability to the organization. They also create a toxic culture for everyone.

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