One of my greatest frustrations with living in Nigeria- amidst Nigerians (allow my generalization)- has been their inability to complete work to a high/basic/expected standard.


Especially when working with a team of intelligent people and delegating tasks according to stated skills, I find it extremely saddening to find that work has to be re-checked, re-edited, re-done numerous times.

The task of delegating is a difficult one, as is working to time/deadlines, when your team cannot be trusted, cannot be relied upon.


My frustration apparently only seen and understood by me.

I’ve had the privilege of being part of a number of teams, both in member- and leader-capacity, and have been re-named “German efficiency”. Obviously annoying, as I am not German. But the fact remain: efficient! If I make your work harder, rather than easier, I really have no need being there. This, my philosophy. If my being part of a team does more harm than good, I am evidently in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. Truth is, it really is an attitude-thing! Regardless of how many teams you are part of, you kind of need to make sure you pull – at the very least – your own weight.

Often I’ve had to step in (behind the scenes) to pull the weight of a leader to. I find it difficult to follow.
And so, having done enough encouraging and pulling, I wear out I pull out.

The vacuum of leadership!

John C Maxwell beautifully explains that

Leaders must live by higher standards than their followers. This insight is exactly opposite of most people’s thoughts concerning leadership. In a world of perks and privileges that accompany the climb to success, little thought is given to the responsibilities of the upward journey. Leaders can give up anything except responsibility, either for themselves or their organizations. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., said, “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.”

Too many people are ready to assert their rights, but not to assume their responsibilities. Richard L. Evans, in his book An Open Road, said, “It is priceless to find a person who will take responsibility . . . to know when someone has accepted an assignment that it will be effectively, conscientiously completed. But when half-finished assignments keep coming back-to check on, to verify, to edit, to interrupt thought, and to take repeated attention-obviously someone has failed to follow the doctrine of completed work.”

Regardless of how visionary and determined you are, regardless of where you are going and how hard you are working toward getting there, having an effective efficient team is paramount to fulfilling your dream. Your team-members can make or break you! Hence, I guess, the importance of selecting the right people for the job. It might take you longer and cost you more, but it will ensure you both lay and build upon a solid and durable foundation.

Now, how respons/reli-able are you?


10 Comments Add yours

  1. highlandblue says:

    I think we also have to look at giving people the right training for their job before expecting stellar performance from them.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      I went to Park n Shop yesterday because I needed a hair-dryer.
      Having gone through the “household/electronics” section on the upper floor but having been told they did not sell such, I was prompted to check the food section downstairs.
      Need I say I knew I looked like I fool walking the dairy- and cereals- and meat- and veg- section downstairs?

      Anyway, I decided that common sense would not let me leave the store with having asked another one, two, three or even four members of staff to help me check again upstairs.

      Long story short, I was right.. right there in a corner were about 5 hair dryers securely locked away.
      Having picked my dryer of choice, I asked an employee to please help me get it out. There was a group of roughly 15 staff members gisting in the mobile phone-section. He walked to his colleagues, received a slip to write the code on, and walked back to where the dryer was locked away, give and take 10metres.

      I waited, and watched, and waiting, and watched. What was taking him so long?
      After five minutes I decided to walk up to him and find out for myself..
      He mused and looked and scratched his head.. When asked what he was doing, why he was keeping me waiting, if there was a problem, he sheepishly replied,

      “No o.. I am just looking at these razors. This one here..”

      I could neither believe my eyes nor my ears. Seriously?
      Needless to say, I walked back to the gisting group and firmly demanded that someone else did the job instead, seeing as this Mr Man was otherwise occupied.
      I was looked at with surprised eyes. Another lady slowly strode towards my desired hair-dryer, rolling her eyes. Her colleagues hissing.

      I was unimpressed.

      When walking to the cashier and about to pay, the lady told me that the price on the system was a wrong one. That I should perhaps walk back and find someone to speak with and sort it out.

      Wait, hold on. I should go and find out what was wrong and sort it out?
      I told her that I did not quite get how I as a customer should, could, or would walk around, trying to sort out the price of a good I intended to buy. I educated her on basic “customer service” and walked away.

      My point is this: No one is expecting you to do the extra ordinary. What I do expect however, is for people to do what they have been asked to do, at the very least use their brains and some sense, if not their initiative.

      I am talking to leaders as I am talking to followers.
      I’m really not asking or looking or expecting a stellar performance.
      But one can do better. One must!
      It’s embarrassing, to say the least.

      1. Ed says:

        Consumer right and excellent customer service are non-existent in Nigeria. I am really concerned whenever I hear the whole hype behind us now being Africa’s largest economy. As the saying goes, “No be by mouth”. Truth be told, we don’t hold ourselves to a higher standard. I’m in the market to buy a car. I know that for what I want and for what I have to spend, I have to get a pre-owned car. You can see two cars that are the same make, one has a previous Nigerian owner and the other was imported pre-owned. The imported one may have more miles on the clock than the one pre-owned by a Nigerian but it will cost more. Its standard and no one even disputes that. I must confess, it doesn’t take much for you to find yourself rife with apathy after being around the average Nigerian (excuse my generalization). So, your experience with the intelligent people may be a ‘nature vs nurture’ scenario. It may not be ‘nature’ that brought them to that place, it may be ‘nurture’ due to their constant interaction(s) with people who just cannot deliver excellence in anything. I’m not making excuses for them though. It’s something I’ve observed. Apologies for the long reply. Its something I’m passionate about.

        1. DeMorrieaux says:

          “So, your experience with the intelligent people may be a ‘nature vs nurture’ scenario.”

          Yes, I certainly believe that people naturally adjust to their surroundings (prevalent culture within which they live) but even much stronger than that, I believe in a person’s will. The ability to step beyond “limitations” and “conditioning” and choose to live and do and act right.

          So, my question: Where is the WILL?

      2. highlandblue says:

        I love this comment here Lol. An entire new blog post. Maybe someone needs to run courses on the basic principles of customer service. Like Customer Service 101. It’s very possible these people were picked off the street, given name tags and told to “assist anyone who needs help”. That’s all the training they got.

        On using our brains… That one was too deep for me to begin on. Perhaps the root of the problem is something worth investigating. Why do Nigerians not know how to take initiative? Thanks for the thought provoking post.

        1. DeMorrieaux says:

          “On using our brains…” ouch.
          Please do not read more into this than intended o!!
          The average Nigerian is extremely smart.. just that he does not use his head rightly… ( ._.)

  2. Sean says:

    Wow! Am amazed. You know why? “German Efficiency”… Thats a phrase I really related with ‘cos thats what I am called too by my bosses, but only with different wordings: “The confluence”, which was later interpreted to me as the “confluence of energy and intellectuality”. You re absolutely right about how we Nigerians aren’t ready for responsibilities, let alone deliver projects efficiently. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Nigerian and ve never been out of the shores of this country, but I ve being opportuned to work in world class projects in the Oil and Gas sector where 95% of the team are westerners, and having had dieect supervisors, both past and present who are westerners, so I literally can tell the difference. The difference is ATTITUDE. Nigerians believe they are just working for the money, every other thing is secondary. What about self fulfillment? The drive to excel in anything you lay your hands on? Its not always there. Hence the lack optimal output. A chinese CEO once said the 3 C’s he looks for in his employees are: CHARACTER, CHEMISTRY & lastly CREDENTIALS. He went further to say the first two attributes are the most important, ‘cos thats what create passion in what you do. And if you are passionate about something, my dear, you eat, drink and live it.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Thanks for this!
      I totally agree with the 3 Cs.

      A couple of days ago my friends and I discussed the issue of “attitude and influence”.

      What if..?

      We imagined the possibility of relocating all citizens of Nigeria to Singapore, and all Singaporeans to Nigeria for a period of 50 years.
      Nigerians would return to Nigeria and find it to have been transformed into another Singapore; whereas the Singaporeans would return to their home country just to find a new Nigeria.

      The idea really is the mindset and attitude of people to create/destroy; with influence being its strongest force.
      The people you surround yourself with and their prevailing attitude to life, work, ethics, morals, etc.

      That is how you can find a Nigerian whose never lived abroad, exhibit positive Western work ethics; and a “Nigerian” somewhere in the heart of Europe (and whose never actually lived in Nigeria) behave like a “bushman”.

      1. Sean says:

        Lol… let me quote u: “That is how you can find a Nigerian whose never lived abroad, exhibit positive Western work ethics; and a “Nigerian” somewhere in the heart of Europe (and whose never actually lived in Nigeria) behave like a “bushman”….. Cant help exploding into laughter after reading the last line of your quote above. Lol. But I completely and totally agree with you on that my dear.
        Also, another quote from u: “Nigerians would return to Nigeria and find it to have been transformed into another Singapore; whereas the Singaporeans would return to their home country just to find a new Nigeria”….. Honestly, the truth in that quote cannot be overemphasized even to a toddler. Attitude is everything, and most of us Nigerians dont ve it.
        Excellent work you doing Vicky, unknowingly u keep trying to make me an addict to your blog page.. Lol.. u wont succeed… Lol. (Seriously u re gettin there).

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