I’ve seen it happen to many businesses, organizations, institutions and groups. More often than not, a change in leadership occurs and it’s suddenly followed by a decline in performance, results and growth of the organization. Except on very few occasions, many times, when a new person assumes the leadership role especially in profit-driven organizations, the fortunes of the business will begin to struggle and if help or intervention is not quickly sought or an inevitable decision to fire occurs, the business could collapse.


One of the major outlets of a reputable fashion company was shut down recently in Lagos.  I was surprised as based on my observation, the business was doing rather well. I was subsequently informed there was a new manager appointed to head the branch and within six months all the old and experienced employees in the branch resigned, new recruits didn’t catch on quickly, they made several costly mistakes, profit and revenue continued to decline and the branch was no longer profitable. The business owners had to shut it down and the recently appointed branch head fired. I asked who this branch head was, and I was surprised it was one of the oldest employees of the company. She’s been with them for almost ten years; a very hard working and diligent employee; passionate about work and willing to go the extra mile always. I felt sorry it had to end with her being fired, but I blamed the management more for making her a branch head when it was clear she wasn’t capable yet.


You see, many times, business owners and top management can slip into this trap of wanting to compensate diligent employees with a promotion. They observe and identify an employee that is hardworking and dedicated, and to reward this person, he or she gets a promotion.


If you want real growth in your business, you do not reward hardworking and diligent employees with promotion if they are yet to develop the capacity to handle the next level of tasks and assignments, especially leadership.

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Being diligent or hardworking is not the same as being capable of leading a team or working through people. And it’s possible to be able to work through people yet, be lazy and laidback.


There are many employees that are very good at what they currently do but not good enough to handle the immediate next level of assignments and tasks. If as a leader you think the best way to compensate their commitment is to promote them, you’re actually setting them up for frustration and failure.


You can reward them with many things and in several ways including regular salary increases without promoting them to a level they lack the capacity to handle.


Hard work is one thing, capacity and competence is a different ball game. I know many employees who have worked very hard and served pretty well in the place of their employment and feel due and qualified for promotion, but they never really did or acquired what is required to manage the next level effectively especially if it involves managing people, hence when smart management does not promote them, they become discouraged and disgruntled.


Dear friend, perhaps you remaining where you are this year without that promotion is actually a blessing especially if you’re yet to acquire the capacity to handle the next level. Yes, you may know what to do, but have you developed the capacity to do it? Knowledge is not capacity, reading and mastering from a book how to drive a car for example does not mean you can drive one without the process of acquiring the capacity to drive. Theory is not practical, knowledge is not ability. If you truly want to grow in career and exhibit excellence at every stage, it is time to get busy on yourself.


You see, many people are too busy with their jobs they neglect to work effectively on themselves. Doing what you have already mastered efficiently does not empower you with what you do not know and can’t do yet. Working hard on yourself is the desire and attempt to develop a superior you by learning new things, acquiring new skills and obtaining superior knowledge above what you already have and know.

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Working hard on yourself is identifying the qualities and capacities required for your next level and going out of your way to learn them and master them before it’s time to take on your next level.


Dear friend, are you busy building up yourself, or you assume it will just happen automatically


The manager at the fashion sales outlet who got fired, worked for almost ten years applying the skills she already knew, unfortunately, it was not enough to keep her going at the next level, hence she didn’t only lose the position; she lost her job as well. In order to qualify for your next level, there are some personal attributes you may need to work on so as not to fail when you eventually apprehend the elevation.


It is possible to be hardworking yet, disorganized. In fact, being disorganized makes you work harder than necessary. If you find it difficult achieving your results and targets most times despite your hard work, it may be an indication you are not very organized. You must learn to plan your work, prioritize your tasks and follow through until you finish each task. Being organized helps you achieve more results with ease, it also takes unnecessary stress off you and puts your life in order. You must develop the habit of always writing a to-do- list for each day and each week. It will guide your energy deployment and enhance your sense of responsibility and subject you to proper performance.

Speed – Time is short, relative to the number of things begging for attention every day. Your ability to work very fast on any task is a needed advantage. You must keep training yourself to improve your speed and accuracy on any task. Be faster with report writing, improve the number of words you can type per minute on your laptop, improve your speed at reading, try and speed up the pace of doing things without letting go of accuracy and excellence. Working faster and more accurately is a capacity you must keep building on a continuous basis.

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People management – The ability to achieve results through people is one of the most difficult tasks in business and in life. Understanding people considering their nature, nurture, temperament, exposure and experience is quite key for leadership. If you can’t lead people, you can’t rise fast in business and career. Maturity, psychology, discipline and objectivity are key elements required to manage people successfully. These traits you must acquire and keep developing.

Communication – The ability to say what you mean and have people understand it as you intended is very important in career and business. If you’re frequently misunderstood because you are not articulate or eloquent in speech, you will struggle hard to lead. Learn to speak well, intelligently and clearly.

Work-life balance – lastly you must manage your official and personal life effectively. It is possible to pass on aggression and frustration from your personal life to your official space and vice versa. Manage your home well, manage your work well. Separate both and keep both balanced, this requires training as well, it’s not just by saying. Discipline yourself to master this art.

Dear friend, be hardworking, diligent and do your job well, but for the real growth and promotion to come quickly and successfully, you need to work hard on you as well, begin today.

Culled from Muyiwa Afolabi Blog