Consult Carson 6/25: “I’m surrounded by incompetence at work. Any advice?”

From today’s mailbag: “My team is incompetent.  I feel like I am doing everything I can but just cannot seem to rise above the poor work ethic and lack of contribution of others.  Any advice?”

Carson: There’s the old adage that a team is only as strong as its weakest link.  No matter how hard you try, your efforts and excellence and contribution will be leveled out and watered down by those whose pale in comparison.

1. Analyze the skill sets of the team.  Does the incompetence exist because people are working well outside of their strengths?  Are there ways to reorganize the work so these issues are diluted?

2. Is leadership aware of the issues?  By no means am I a proponent of “tattling,” but constructively presenting problems with proposed solutions is often an effective mechanism to tackle just about anything.  Rather than just telling leadership that team members are not carrying their weight, present the areas that are suffering, allow leadership to draw their conclusions based on fact and seeing the issues firsthand, and present any solutions you can think of as someone on the front lines.  If you do this, it builds trust and it is more likely your recommendations will be taken seriously.  Those who throw their co-workers under the bus can easily be branded as disloyal, and that will be counter-productive to your cause.

3. Invest the time to help.  Are you in a position to train those who are lagging behind?  Are you able to take steps to improve the broken links in the process?  It may be daunting and take away from the tasks at hand, but remember you are investing into future success.  Wouldn’t it be easier if the team worked better and the process had fewer gaps?  Invest the time now to yield future successes through better trained people and improved assembly line.

It’s very likely that no matter where you go, you will encounter incompetence in the workplace.  However, it is not always a lack of will; it could be lack of skill that can be addressed and enhanced.  It could be a lack of will that needs to be brought to the attention of leadership in a roundabout way by pointing out the obstacles you are facing and letting them draw conclusions with the help of your recommendations.  Whatever the case may be, you will need to accept a certain degree of issues and obstacles and lack of effort from time to time, but take steps to minimize these issues, be a voice for positive change – and you just may find yourself in a position to impact the business even more!


Carson V. Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership.  You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.  You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.

If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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