Why compensate for incompetence?

‘Compensating incompetence is one thing that results in overworking a staff to do the job of another while the other staff gets paid for doing nothing. There is no equity in doing a job of two while being paid for one.  It is either you want to do the job you were employed for, or you leave if you can’t’

TEJU, who is going to the Coca-Cola Digital meeting with Taiwo?” Fiona walked up to my table asking this question at 9:am because she received a distress message from the community manager for Coca-Cola.

Every Tuesday of the week there is a digital update/performance review with the brand team, community managers, and the media team to understand the brand health and what needs to be done to improve the current brand status/performance. The community manager is expected to present consolidated weekly metrics of the previous week at the meeting.

When Taiwo joined, the client service executive on the brand followed her to the meetings to get her acquainted with the client and how they work and always wrote the minutes of the meetings. What I realized after three months was that Taiwo practically left the minute taking and the presentation of the metrics to the account executive, even though it was her job to do.

The worse was that her weekly metrics was always prepared late and every time I asked, she blamed it on the media agency

After several weeks of correcting and advising her to be responsible for her deliverables and to take notes at meetings instead of relying on Rolake, I decided the best thing to do was to make her face the consequence of her action. So, I waited till 6 pm on Monday to tell her she would be attending the meeting alone the next day.

I thought she saw a ghost! She was horrified, partly because her report was not finished, and then she didn’t have the confidence of being in the meeting all by herself. But I wasn’t having it.

So, when Fiona who was my boss walked in to ask that question, I was so ready. I told her Rolake had to be at FMN at the same time to do her job and since Taiwo is the digital person who needs to attend a digital team meeting; she has to go alone. Case closed.

Compensating incompetence is one thing that results in overworking a staff to do the job of another while the other staff gets paid for doing nothing. There is no equity in doing a job of two while being paid for one.  It is either you want to do the job you were employed for, or you leave if you can’t.

Did I achieve anything by sending Taiwo to the meeting alone? That’s a capital yes! It wasn’t a pleasant experience that she vowed will never happen again. And I tell you, it never happened again!

Taiwo became one of my favorites and she got to understand that that one tough decision I made was for her to see the greatness in herself.

As Donald McGannon said, leadership is an action, not a position. Many people on your team just need a little push to earn and own their space on the table.

*Ogunyomi is a Marcoms professional and behavioral analyst. She left Ogilvy Nigeria in 2020 to start her own agency. She is an APCON member, was a member of the AAAN women in Advertising committee, and the AAAN Event committee. She is currently the CEO of Aspora Nigeria Limited, an integrated Communications, Strategy, and Consultancy agency.

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