My Manager Called Me Incompetent!

Question:

My manager called me incompetent on my first week of the job? Is this verbal abuse? Did she have any right in saying that to me? Thank you for your time.

Signed,

New Hire


Answer:

Dear New Hire:

To call you incompetent is not verbal abuse or against the law. It is rude and bad bossing. What did you say back? Good bossing points out an employee’s lack of skills and the word “incompetent” means just that. Good managers are careful when interviewing individuals seeking jobs to assess their competence for the kind of assignments within job descriptions. Once an individual is hired, managers are responsible to monitor performance and to determine if a new employee can do the tasks assigned and, if not, to either see that they are trained or discharged.

Employees are wise early on to initiate conversations with their supervisor to learn what they are doing correctly and what is not. Apparently, your manager observed your performance and stated you were lacking. It would have been better if she spoke to you politely pointing out the explicitly what was wrong and how it might be corrected.

You are fortunate to learn within a week the demeanor of your manager and her general evaluation of you. Now you can either suck in that word “incompetent” and let it fester into anger or to request a meeting to learn what is expected. It is smart to learn if your manager thinks that you can be trained to do the job. Possibly, the manager was so dismayed that she simply exclaimed. Maybe your spelling was bad. Maybe you did not know certain computer skills. Maybe your manager doubts that you can do the kind of work needed. If so, it good to learn that now and then you can seek work elsewhere. I don’t know what provoked that word. If you do, apologize and tell your manager from now that you prefer that she states specifically what are your mistakes rather than call out “incompetent” and will do your best to not make those mistakes again. Does this make sense? Put your faith in a good attitude and in keeping the channel of communication open. Don’t allow your pride to boil within. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Feel free to speak with others to evaluate my advice, but avoid complaining to your co-workers about being called incompetent. That would only make matters worse.

William Gorden