by Aziza Uko
Hello. My name is Henry. I am a good dresser; I have great inter-personal relationship skills; and great communication skills (written and oral). I am a university graduate; I have 5 years cognate experience; I am eager to work; driven. I consider myself more of an entrepreneur than an employee; I am an ideas factory; I am passionate about my job and my country; sit on the cutting edge of technological development; and so much more.
That’s how I describe myself on my resume.
But the truth about me, the real truth; is that I am that under-performer. And I take everybody else down with me.
I am unable to achieve success at anything I do. Anybody who gets carried away by my sharp dressing and ‘sweet mouth’ and gives me a job ends up regretting the first day I walked into their organisation. I am Human Resource’s biggest headache, to be avoided in any work setting.
Here’s how to spot me:
1. When you give me a task, I quickly jump into it. I don’t ask questions, as that will diminish me. I don’t clarify anything with you, so I don’t look incapable. So, what do I do? I wobble along, fumbling through the task, cooking up a pot of disaster, and present a bundle of excuses for my failure. That’s what I am: a suitcase of excuses.
2. I am one dude that is multi-talented. I am just good at everything. I accept any assignment given to me and I can do it all alone, without help. The only problem – in reality, I cannot do even the basics. I am not even mediocre; I am pathetic. I am good at nothing, but the most annoying thing about me is that I don’t accept my limitations. Did I tell you that at the end of the day, you will end up doing the job yourself? Yeah. That is after I have destroyed both value and time.
3. I must make a contribution at every staff/project meeting. I have to attack ideas, while bringing forward nothing worthwhile or original. If you send me a draft idea on your thoughts, I have to attack your ideas, your premise, your thinking. I have to edit a perfect letter. I just can’t say, “Well done!” and move on to something else. That’s who I am.
4. Let me emphasise the above. Because I know I am a laggard, I have to prove that I am not one. So, what do you get from me? I am constantly diminishing other people, it’s the only way I can look tall. And, by God, I need to look tall – always.
5. So this means I cannot ask for help, you see. I can’t afford to acknowledge the strengths or expertise or contributions of others. It’s something I hardly do. Even when I work myself to the point where I am staring at a brick wall, a fatal crash is inevitable; I still will not ask for help from my more gifted colleagues, I prefer to wreck the ship before I do that. And I’ve wrecked more than a few ships.
6. “I disagree with you” – that’s one of my most used phrases. Sometimes, I add some spice by adding “strongly” to “disagree”. Don’t blame me. It’s the only way I can look like I have a fine mind. A wise man once said, “Those who habitually disagree with your decisions eventually become capable of disloyalty.” A word is enough for the wise.
7. I yearn to be seen as a “great guy” by everyone. I know I can’t achieve that through my performance on the job, so I spend a lot of my time creating a following in my organisation. I am very sociable: I don’t miss social events. I know everyone’s middle name. I know everyone’s spouse, number of siblings and so much more. But you see the downside to that (or call it an upside)? If I am in a position where I have to be tough in enforcing policy, I won’t. I don’t want to soil my rep. by being tough on people, or disciplining them. So, the organisation suffers. Too bad! Get someone else to do the “dirty” work.
8. Let me just make the above clear. You see, because I’m a great guy, I am more into the politics of the organisation than any work. Sometimes, I reach an alarming politics-to-work ratio of 100:0. And if I am lucky to make it to a leadership position (and I am a lucky kind of guy), that is the kind of environment I create for my subordinates to work in – nobody is workin’, everyone’s playin’, and the organisation is roastin’. That’s the way we roll.
9. All laggards are cowards. I am no exception. Don’t expect me to tell you the hard truth to your face, that’s if I can grasp any. Once you are not around, I suddenly become an expert at analysing your mistakes and weaknesses. In the process, I do serious harm to your image. I can’t stand stars around me. That’s my nature.
10. I know I don’t deserve my position in the business. So, I am driving fulltime on Self-preservation Lane. Anybody on Self-preservation Lane is creating zero-value for the organisation. When I lead a project that ends in disaster, I take cover for a few days, finding any excuse to avoid an evaluation meeting. When I do re-emerge, I wish away my monumental failure and hope that everyone else will too.
11. Laggards, like any other organism, multiply themselves. I want other laggards around. In fact, I need other laggards around me to thrive. I do everything I can to discourage the recruitment of a star, and everything I can to encourage the exit of stars even going as far as orchestrating their exit. And when fellow laggards come into the organization, I am always so glad to help show them the way to Self-preservation Lane. I need them. I need to remain a one-eyed king in the land of the blind.
12. I steal other people’s ideas and pass them off as mine. In fact, I’m such a laggard that I couldn’t even write this myself. I had Aziza do it for me.
I am toxic to your organization. There is no value to keeping me. You need to exit me from your business and your work life – entirely – because with me hovering around, you are never going to realise your full potential.
I need to leave – and I need to leave now.