I'm worried I look incompetent at work, what can I do?

68 Answers
Last Updated: 08/08/2019 at 2:22am
★ This question about Work Stress was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
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As a Licensed MFT I work with clients to more effectively address, process and learn skills to manage the problems that prevent them from living the life they want.

Top Rated Answers
Nitya2014
September 14th, 2014 8:21am
I undertand you are worried. But worrying does not slove the probem right? , Can you tell me the reasons that why do you feel incompetent at work?
Anonymous
November 8th, 2014 4:23pm
Do you have reason to think you're actually incompetent at work, or are you just being paranoid? Work on doing your best, and consider asking your boss if there's somewhere you should improve!
PeaceTrain
November 10th, 2014 10:41am
First you have to work harder to improve your competency level. Also don't let your confidence slide easily. I suggest that you watch the following video. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc
mimo29
January 7th, 2015 4:07am
This could be either a genuine or baseless worry. You can tell which by asking your boss honestly how you're doing at work. This person has no motivation or obligation to assure you of your competence as others might because they are your friends or your competitors. Should you find out you are lacking in some areas, you know how you can improve. You can learn from your peers, or take more courses to improve your skills. If you find out you are worrying needlessly, reflect on that discovery: it could mean you are overly self-conscious or self-critical. You can then work towards having a more healthy mental life.
Nawar
October 19th, 2014 4:00pm
Everyone has faced this worry at some point of time. So first, you need to believe that you are not incompetent.
Lucky
November 10th, 2014 10:25pm
The best way to overcome this is to actually become competent in whatever field you are in, also if you feel you are already competent you can do little self affirmations in the morning before going to work. Example, tell yourself "i am competent", "I deserve this Job". Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we deserve the things we have.
Jonez
September 19th, 2014 6:15pm
Assess your work. Manage time wisely. Admit mistakes. Don't be afraid to ask your boss for feedback.
Hermes121
December 9th, 2016 12:16am
I work in the ambulance service and come face to face with all sorts of unusual illnesses, issues and sometimes very high stress situations. The funny thing is that while we get plenty of training and help at the start there's no way to be prepared for everything and even the stuff you have trained for, like delivering a baby, can result in different presentations such as twins on a strangers couch. My point is that most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing. All I can do is smile, be as confident as I can and just hope that nobody can see that I'm bluffing. I then do it again and again until the point where even if I don't feel 100% confident, I'm doing a good job. That's all that matters usually, a smile, appearing confident and not completely botching the job. Everything else is a bonus :)
Anonymous
October 28th, 2014 6:25pm
If you feel as though that you're not doing to well at your job, let your boss know and surely they'll be able to reassure you and help put you on the right track to do better.
Anonymous
September 22nd, 2016 2:39am
This might be a self-fulfilling prophecy! If people can tell that you look worried, they may wonder if you have something to worry about! Build your self-confidence and stop wondering about what other people are thinking so much. People will respect you if your work is done well; focus on your work and less on them. Coworkers who disrespect you despite you being a good employee are not worth your concern.
crlody
November 8th, 2014 10:47pm
Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Ask your supervisor for training opportunities, whether inside or outside your company. Ask your supervisor to evaluate your competence and give you some suggestions on which areas to improve your work performance - it might sound counter-intuitive but most supervisors will look at this effort on your part as a personal strength and asset to the company. There are also plenty of books and other resources online and at the library to help you improve your work performance or confidence/self-esteem at work. Try asking someone at work who you view as successful for advice. Keep a work journal and write about challenging situations, how you handled them, what the outcome was, and whether you would do something differently in the future - this will give you a concrete guide to reference when you're feeling unsure.
HelpingOthers111
October 4th, 2014 12:47am
You just have to work as hard as you can and people would never judge you for that. Who knows? Others might have the same exact fear as you.
SamuelPeak
October 28th, 2017 5:54am
Often worrying about looking incompetent or incapable, doubting yourself, or being unsure at all is exactly what confirms your suspicions to those around you. We all have our doubts, but what makes a leader, and a good worker is acting sure, and trusting yourself even when the odds might seem against you. Believe in yourself, and know your limitations and strengths, take your time if you have to, but do it right. Understand that every mistake makes you better, and that you can do what you need to, if you doubt yourself, you will prove your doubts correct. We’re not perfect, but if you know and can do your stuff, that’s all that’s asked of you. No one can ask more than your best, and that’s all that can be asked of you, so give it always.
Samalyn
January 18th, 2016 2:30am
Set goals for yourself! No one can tell you that you are incapable if you are setting progressive goals that show how you've gained in skill! Best of wishes xoxo
Melil94
October 20th, 2016 1:22am
Be the best that you can be given your emotional/mental state. Do not be afraid to be open about problems you may be having.
Guruu
November 11th, 2016 1:11pm
Sometimes people have different skill set than what is required for a job. They accept the job because of the beed but this leads to friction and demotivation for the person. Evaluate you skill sets and validate the same with jobs requirement. If required have an open discussion with your superior and have his feedback and take corrective measures. Good luck.
ThreePinner
February 9th, 2018 3:46pm
As a start, you might remind yourself that lots of us feel that way in our jobs. In some cases, that's what the job requires. It may also be the case that your concern for your competence is a sign of your determination to do a good job - it may just go hand-in-hand with a strong work ethic. Then you might think back to a mentor or someone you respect in your field. Imagine what they would do in a particular situation. You'll merge the confidence they symbolize for you into your own insight and skills. Eventually you won't worry about being incompetent because you'll see that your field, like all others, is ultimately flawed and silly and not nearly as impressive as you thought when you began, and that's all ok. We are all just doing our best and there's a humor and a poignant humanity in that.
Flaree
October 4th, 2014 2:43pm
Try your best and if you feel as if you can do better then learn more, take extra courses or ask your manager for extra help.
Ingrid9
November 9th, 2014 9:44pm
Perhaps ask somebody in management if there are any training opportunities. For example, maybe there is a workshop you could attend, or some resources you could read.
Candid0211
October 23rd, 2016 10:56pm
Looking incompetent is different from being one so where looking is more about how your work is perceived vis-a-vis being is more about your performance. If it has something to do with your performance at work then you need to understand why is it so but if it is more about perception then, you might want to look into how do you communicate about your work or let's say showcase your work.
LimpyT
November 22nd, 2017 2:02pm
Its depends why you feel incompetent, if its your own insecurities and lack of self belief then work on complimenting yourself for a job well done. if your skill set is lacking, learn more about the job/industry to promote a greater confidence.
Anonymous
May 17th, 2018 8:06am
Just be yourself and relax. Be confident. If you work there it means that you are competent in your field
VanessaD92
June 3rd, 2015 1:01am
Be confident in yourself. Even if you feel you are not doing it wrong, be confident you have done everything right and you are the best at what you are doing.
Greatlistener87
April 25th, 2016 1:27am
Find out why u feel that way about yourself. There could be a deeper reason for you to feel such a way about urself.
EveryInkspots
June 13th, 2016 9:19pm
From a personal experience I decided to seek help from a co-worker that I trusted and asked for their opinion on certain things, if I was feeling down about my appearance I asked for some tips, if I felt that my work was lacking say on a project or being on a time crunch I looked for answers either by researching better ways to manage my time, to even asking for help and it is to ask help from someone, it not only helps them but helps you build the confidence for the future
Kat140615xx
September 18th, 2016 3:04pm
Sometimes it takes time to work at new skills, just take your time, and search more into it and practice makes perfect, I recently started the new job and now transfering to nights with new skills so take every step and day as it comes,
Anonymous
October 25th, 2016 8:43pm
Show that you're trying your best, maybe go out of your way to talk to other people at work and get to know them so you don't feel as worried that they see you badly.
AlanRY
November 16th, 2016 6:30pm
As much as your assessment of the situation may be true or not, what matters is here is what you want. Are you ok with your performance? if not, is there something you want to change in your performance? What would you like to change? You may spend time speculating about what others might be thinking and then worry about it, or, you may focus on your own assessment. And if you care about improving, you may ask your boss for feedback.
KennethZ
November 18th, 2016 11:47pm
You can make sure that you have regular scheduled reviews with your superiors/supervisors. That way you can get an honest, unbiased opinion of your performance and where you need to improve. Nobody is perfect, and odds are, if they haven't let you go then they are at least content with the work you do.
Anonymous
December 11th, 2016 5:07am
Make sure you have clear expectations set out for you at your work. If you are not sure what those are talk to your supervisor. If you are meeting those expectations then you can rest assured you are not incompetent.