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We are only as strong as our human resource

Editorial Team
Last Updated: 08-09-2021 12:44 PM

Economic development is a result of the people we have. Every job will be done if you put the right people in the right jobs. That’s the biggest challenge facing Africa, especially. The key issue is cognitive power. It’s the capacity to think, to find solutions to problems.  

In this TEDxHarare presentation Memory Nguwi shares more about an individual’s working capacity, intelligent fools, and levels of work complexity, architectural model of competence, personality and why we should invest in preschool education.

Watch the video below:


Our research shows over 70% of Zimbabwean employees who hold professional jobs have the requisite academic qualifications for the jobs they occupy. Slightly over 56% of them have the minimum qualification plus a post-graduate qualification. Despite all the above accolades organisations struggle with non-performing employees. Managers sometimes do not know how to identify those with no capacity for their roles. This is compounded by the fact that the hiring process is qualification and experience focused. Research shows between them {experience and qualifications} predict only 3% of job performance. This leaves 97% of the performance to be explained by other factors.  There are scientific ways to gauge if an individual has the capacity for the job or not. Such processes are scientific and rigorous but very few organisations have an appetite for them despite the immense value from such a process. 

At face value, you can pick some of the signs of people with no capacity for the roles they occupy. I list below some of the signs.

  1. Poor performance – this is the obvious one. Such people consistently underperform even in the face of adequate resources and systems.
  2. They do not respond positively to training – People with no capacity generally do not benefit from training because they have low capacity to assimilate information. Sending them for training is a waste of resources especially high-level training programs.
  3. When sent for offsite training they tend to copy bad habits from other participants and bring them to the office. In such cases, you find they want to introduce new things mainly focused on consolidating power.
  4. They do not want to recruit high calibre employees because they feel threatened by such talent. They would rather struggle with workload even where it is evident they are not coping.
  5. Whenever there is a high workload, they want to hire more incompetent people so that they do not face any challenge to their role
  6. They rarely take leave – they are afraid to take leave because they are scared better performance can be achieved without them. In rare cases where they take leave they disable the whole system such that very little gets done until they are back. All authorisations will have to be done from home. You see staff flocking even to a funeral to get things signed because they do not create room to nature others.
  7. They rarely develop successors to their role – they do not want to develop people with potential because they are worried the same people will take their position.
  8. They attend all-important meetings and workshops. They do not believe that others have to be given a chance to learn. All the travelling is done by them.
  9. They promote other incompetent people- they always praise non-performers especially those who show loyalty to them. They put loyalty ahead of performance.
  10. They punish subordinates who challenge their authority especially when such subordinates suggest new ways of doing things.
  11. They consistently need to be reminded about outstanding work
  12. They have every excuse when they fail to deliver. They often blame the environment and others for their poor performance
  13. When caught unprepared on issues they always say give me time to verify and come back to you.
  14. Their language when explaining issues that fall directly under them does not show that they are in charge, they speak as if someone will be doing it. Some of the statements used often by such people include “People should”, “I hope”,” Things need to change” etc.
  15. They end of doing work for the subordinates because they are more comfortable with low-level work. They feel uneasy handling work at their level.
  16. They are often not strategic because they focus on petty issues.
  17. They take all the glory when things go well and blame others including their subordinates when things are not going on well.

Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +263 77 2356 361 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com  or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Editorial Team

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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