People Tend to Rise to the Level of Their Incompetence

Did the title of this post catch your attention?

I first heard this concept through an interview with Gene Rivers on The ONE Thing Podcast and I it really caught my attention and made me think.

My first thoughts were, “Well I’m a person, so I guess that means I have a level of incompetence.” And of course I started thinking about where my level of incompetence lies.

Where am I incompetent?

I am not a very good designer. Give me a flyer template and I can rock that thing with great photos and information, but don’t ask me to design one from scratch.

I am not a very good html programmer. Give me some basic code and I can make it work, but don’t ask me to do anything fancy.

Of course I have many other areas of incompetence, but frankly, it depresses me to think about all the things I’m not good at!

Then I got to thinking about how I would raise my level of incompetence.

The fact is, if I wanted to get better at design, I could easily start studying design and get better at it. And the same with html code. I can learn those things.

Currently I’m working on raising my level of incompetence when it comes to leading. I believe that to become a good leader, I have to become a good coach and ask empowering questions. So that’s what I’m studying.

In the interview, Gene says that once someone’s been in an organization for five years, they’ve hit their level of incompetency and they will rise no further. Beyond this level, they won’t perform well. It’s too complex, it’s too much responsibility, they’re juggling too many balls, and they just can’t seem to perform like they did at lower levels.

(The entire principle is known as The Peter Principle and there’s a book by the same name if you want to check it out.)

I’ve been with my current real estate team for almost 8 years now, and I’ve been in the Executive Assistant/Operations Manager role for a total of 13 years. I’d like to think that no matter what responsibility I decided to take on, or what responsibility was handed to me, I would rise to the level of competency needed to fulfill that responsibility.

I think that is what’s needed in this role: a growth mindset.

You see, I would never let lack of knowledge or skill prevent me from doing something. I’d either learn it, or I would leverage it. Either way the job gets done.

In the example of being a poor designer, that was something I had to leverage when it came time for us to get a new logo. I knew there was no way that anything I produced would look remotely professional. And it would take way too long for me to acquire the skills needed to produce something that looked professional. So I hired it out. And the results look amazing!

The point is, the job still got done. It was my responsibility to get us a new logo and I did it.

How can you start applying this concept to your own role? What do you need to learn or what do you need to leverage in order to raise your level of incompetence?

The longer you can keep pushing that level of incompetence to new heights, the more fulfilling your job will be and the more valuable you become to your real estate team. The more valuable you are, the more money you will make because the team will want to be sure to compensate you so well that you don’t leave.

Related Article: How to Get a Raise as a Real Estate Executive Assistant

We’re all incompetent at a lot of things. Just make sure that your level isn’t keeping you from getting the promotions and raises you want.

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