Protecting the Incompetent

September 7, 2012 in Church, Ministry

The Original headline for this piece was to be Dealing with Entrenched Incompetence.  I loved it, but figured it was a bit too …deep.

Phil Cooke has again hit the nail on the head with a sledgehammer, he’s so on point!!! His article is entitled The Damage Caused by Entrenched Incompetence. Read it in its entirety here.

How I LOOOVEE this article.  As I travel and serve I see this type of situation over and over.  It’s an elephant in far too many rooms in the church house ( and many other places as well…).

You know the scenario there’s something you need to get done, but you wince because you know that the person whose job it is to handle the issue either won’t be able to do or will take so long to get it done, you might as well do it yourself.

So instead we set up these alternate back roads, other avenues we can travel to get our deed accomplished and avoid dealing with said person.

Or perhaps we do the work for this person and just “inform them of what is going on”  it takes them off the hook and you’ve both covered your bases while getting your need met expediently.

Either way it’s dysfunctional!

To sum up Mr. Cooke’s points:

entrenched incompetence.” This is when an obviously incompetent person continues at their job, because no one has the guts to force him or her out.  

What this type of behavior does to an organization:

1) They’re paralyzing the organization. The job function the person is supposed to be  executing is not getting done.  The organization felt the duties of this position warranted paying someone to do them, if they are not being done, the organization is suffering.

2) It creates bitterness among other employees. Imagine you are the person who gets pulled up for any and every missed step, yet this person is allowed to continue providing substandard work product while others enable them to hold onto a position.

3) It devalues loyalty.  If this type of work is allowed to continue on, eventually it will become the belief that this is okay with the organization and what they stand for. THIS behavior eventually becomes the “corporate culture“.

Any organization that’s created an environment where incompetence becomes entrenched, and perhaps worse – where no one feels empowered to make a change – is a sad testimony to poor leadership“. -Phil Cooke


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