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You’re likely not wrong if you think you have a bad boss. You might feel singled out by your boss, intimidated and negative self-talk, and jealous of other suck-ups around you – all these are part of your career development.
In this article, we will discuss 12 things you can do to make yourself feel more competent in the eyes of your boss. In addition, we will explore some of the reasons why bosses make their employees feel incompetent.
12 things to do when your boss makes you feel incompetent
When your boss makes you feel incompetent regularly, here are some ways you can cope:
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Your biggest critic is likely to be yourself, and most of your insecurities stem from your thoughts.
You risk slipping up when you have heavy pressure to succeed. In any case, you should replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This way, you will be able to deal with the pressure more effectively.
Try not to judge yourself too harshly when you make a mistake in a report or are given negative feedback by a client. Instead, be kind, take it easy on yourself, and focus on learning from mistakes rather than judge yourself harshly.
2. Verify it’s what you thought it was
If you’re feeling incompetent at work, the first step is to ensure your boss is making you feel that way.
Often, the most common reason for people thinking someone has put them down is that they are insecure about themselves.
Once you’ve gone through the situation again and you’re certain you’re not just being perfect or pushing yourself too far, make sure you analyze the situation again and decide whether your boss has done anything hurtful. If you are sure your boss hasn’t hurt you, you can move on to the next step.
3. Perfection doesn’t exist
In the workplace, if you feel stupid, it’s probably because of the pressure to be perfect. You want to impress the boss, get that promotion, and get the A-star report you’re looking for.
It is very easy to become discouraged when you stumble. However, you must realize that striving for perfection is a complete waste of time and money. You have to accept that you will not be able to achieve perfection in every part of your job – and that is fine.
4. Schedule a meeting with your boss
It is possible to resolve the problem once you confirm that your boss is hurting your self-confidence and self-esteem. First, try asking your boss for a meeting. You can discuss the issue if they agree.
If you’re worried that things may get out of hand, you can ask a third party to attend the meeting with you. Attending the meeting alone with your boss is one option, but you may want to bring a third party if you are worried.
Describe what your boss does to you. If a customer asks for help or information specifically, behavior like that can be problematic. For example, you can point out that your boss jumps ahead of you and answers your questions before you.
Occasionally, your boss may appear unaware of what you are saying. As a result, they may deflect responsibility or have a complete shutdown. Your boss might react by acting abrasively or abusively toward you. For example, if someone has a narcissistic or immature personality, they may blame you for the incident.
Ultimately, you won’t be able to negotiate with your boss. Instead, you’ll need to talk to another party or let the incident go.
5. Consult with Human Resources about the issue
If the problem does not subside, HR may be able to help you. They offer solutions to many workplace issues.
The human resources department works for the company, and so they are there to protect the company’s interests. Consequently, a report and reasonable action may be appropriate in your case.
The HR representative will be able to determine if your complaint is legitimate by reviewing the necessary documents. Such documents can include witness statements, pictures, recordings, and more.
Depending on how HR handles the situation, you and your boss may meet, or you may be separated from your boss by the HR team. You need to gather as much evidence and documentation as possible to see how likely you will win your case. Otherwise, the company may dismiss your case or say you were wrong.
6. Keep your emotions in check
It seems easy to take things too personally when your boss makes you feel incompetent. However, it is important to remember that it is not necessarily the boss’s intention to harm or cause us to feel bad.
It is more than likely that your boss is just trying to get the job done at the moment, and they may not have the time or resources to train you on everything you must know to succeed.
Instead of taking things personally, try to see your boss’s actions as an opportunity for growth. When you view challenges this way, facing them head-on and learning from our mistakes becomes easier.
7. Learn from your mistakes
There is no shame in feeling stupid at work. We all make mistakes, and sometimes it is difficult to confront the consequences of our actions. However, if your boss makes you feel incompetent, owning your own mistakes is a great way to rebuild your self-esteem.
As soon as you accept responsibility for your actions, you display your willingness to learn from your mistakes and grow as a professional. Furthermore, you also message your boss that you are willing to put in the extra effort to improve your abilities.
8. Build a support network with co-workers
It can be tough to face the challenge when your boss makes you feel incompetent. However, when you have a support network of colleagues and friends, you become less reliant on your boss’s approval. With these people, you can get emotional support when needed and helpful advice and feedback.
In addition, it allows you to create your own mind about your work. This creates a more well-rounded employee that is appreciated in the long run. Additionally, it takes the pressure off the boss to be the only person you go to for support or development opportunities.
9. Make it up as you go along.
Feeling confident when your boss makes you feel worthless is never easy. It’s easy to feel like you’re worthless and that the negativity will generalize your entire life. However, sometimes the best way to gain confidence is to fake it until you make it. By pretending to be confident, you can start to feel more confident. Your brain is often fooled into thinking that you are competent when you act as if you know what you’re doing – even when you don’t.
10. No need to take the stress of work
What would you do if you forgot to reply to an email or were disappointed that you didn’t receive a standing ovation after your presentation? No need to stress about work-related issues; it’s unhealthy and can cause job burnout.
When you go through the day exhausting yourself with negative thoughts and constantly feel down about your job performance, you put a huge amount of strain on your mental and physical well-being. Therefore, staying positive and shaking off any stress you may have about your job is important!
11. Compassionately treat yourself
It can be easy to fall into a cycle of low self-esteem when your boss makes you feel incompetent at work. As a result, you may start to doubt your abilities and question whether you are good enough for the job.
However, self-compassion is one of the best ways to deal with these feelings. By being understanding and kind towards ourselves, you can show that you value yourself as an individual. This can help you cope with feeling incompetent and prevent you from falling into a cycle of self-doubt.
12. Find another job by starting a job search.
If your boss treats you as incompetent, that certainly shows a lack of appreciation on their part. You are not obligated to stay at your current workplace if you do not have a contract.
If you are unsatisfied with your position, you can resign anytime and search for a different job where your supervisor won’t make you feel incompetent. Therefore, if you’ve tried everything else and still don’t feel motivated, you are free to leave your current assignment.
There is a greater understanding of workplace situations that leave you feeling unqualified for the position. Furthermore, it would be best if you understood that, in most cases, it is not your fault. All that remains to be done is to take the steps necessary to improve your quality of life.
Related: How To Know a Job is Right For You
Reasons why your boss makes you feel incompetent
The first step in understanding why your boss makes you feel incompetent is understanding why they act that way. The following are some of the reasons your boss may be acting that way:
→ It is your boss who is incompetent.
If your boss makes you feel stupid, one reason your boss might be making you feel incompetent is that they feel incompetent. To protect their feelings, bosses frequently lash out at their employees. Alternatively, your boss might make you feel incompetent because they feel that you are incompetent.
→ You have an insecure boss
It’s not uncommon for people in positions of power to have insecurity issues. And often, rather than address the root of the problem, they engage in activities that make their underlings feel insecure. This might be microaggressions, backhanded compliments, or simply withholding praise.
Unfortunately, if your boss has chosen this strategy to cope with their insecurity, there’s not much you can do about it.
→ You have an abusive boss
The world could crumble in an instant if you have a boss who has an abusive personality. These individuals enjoy humiliating their employees and making them feel their lives are in peril.
This boss doesn’t want you to feel secure in your position. Therefore, they will constantly make you feel like you don’t contribute enough to the organization; in other words, you are not enough.
→ Motivation is the goal of your boss’s
If your boss wants you to perfect one of your skills so you can use it to its fullest potential, they might make you feel incompetent, but they might not know how to implement it properly. On the other hand, perhaps your boss wants you to perfect one of your skills. Then, they might make you feel incompetent to motivate you to learn more or work harder.
→ It’s part of the company’s culture.
There is a possibility that your boss is making you feel insecure due to the culture that the company has adopted. There is a possibility that the company has an “only the strong will succeed” attitude and that it prefers that its employees have thick skins as well.
When you start your employment journey, remember that you aren’t obligated to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. You can choose where you would like to spend your hours working. Performing a job for a company and being paid for it is what you call a job.
If you are dissatisfied with your work, you have every right to take action to improve your situation. However, it would be best to act immediately to preserve your mental health and well-being.
Although it can be difficult to face the fact that you have a bad boss, it’s important to do something about it. If you can make yourself feel more competent in your boss’s eyes, you will be able to do your best work and maybe even move up in the company.
We hope these tips help you feel more confident at work. Let us know how they worked for you in the comment section below!
What are the signs of a toxic boss?
What should bosses not say to employees?
• Bosses should never belittle or make fun of their employees in front of others.
• Bosses should avoid giving criticism that is vague or overly general.
• While bosses need to give their employees direction, they should avoid micromanaging every aspect of their work.
How do you know if your boss doesn’t value you?
• If you’re always the one doing the work and never receiving recognition.
• If your boss micromanages you or doesn’t give you any autonomy.
• If your boss doesn’t listen to your ideas or makes decisions without considering your thoughts, then it’s likely that they don’t think very highly of you.