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Overcoming the Peter Principle

Responses to the Peter Principle

"Women and minorities were exempted from the idea because they often weren’t promoted despite their competence and so didn’t get the chance to reach their level of incompetence."

"What really happens is that managers are promoted, not to their level of immutable incompetence, but to their level of anxiety and depression, which overwhelms their ambition and desire to succeed."

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Overcoming the Peter Principle

Overcoming the Peter Principle

https://hbr.org/2014/12/overcoming-the-peter-principle

hbr.org

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Key Ideas

Responses to the Peter Principle

"Women and minorities were exempted from the idea because they often weren’t promoted despite their competence and so didn’t get the chance to r...

Responses to the Peter Principle

"Women and minorities were exempted from the idea because they often weren’t promoted despite their competence and so didn’t get the chance to reach their level of incompetence."

"What really happens is that managers are promoted, not to their level of immutable incompetence, but to their level of anxiety and depression, which overwhelms their ambition and desire to succeed."

A Reverse Peter Principle

Most managers address the bad boss problem by getting out of the subordinate role as quickly as possible and, by improving their own leadership skills, becoming a good boss.

Incompetence is Everywhere

Incompetence can also be seen on how subordinates deal with their bosses.

Workers feel anxious on how their bosses think about them. Should I correct my boss? Does he think of me as a competitor? Am I capable enough? Should I take an action?

Of course, everyone would think of those question before making a move. But a wise subordinate know can recognize that a boss does not know what he needs and the best thing to do is address their suggestions to the boss. Why? Because the boss is the one with the greater power to act.

Most leaders are also subordinates, most subordinates are also leaders.

A good follower have almost the same traits as a good leader. If everyone could manage themselves, co...

Most leaders are also subordinates, most subordinates are also leaders.

A good follower have almost the same traits as a good leader. If everyone could manage themselves, commit to the organization, competent, courageous, honest, and credible, then Peter Principle would probably never have been written.

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The Peter Principle

Also known as The Peter principle of Incompetence, it claims that people who do their job well are promoted to positions of greater responsibility, and so on, until they reach a position in whic...

Dilbert Principle

The Dilbert Principle refers to the idea that incompetent employees are being promoted to prevent them from causing harm, since higher level positions don't need to be involved in the production of the company, while people that perform well are retained to production jobs, to keep the company going forward.

The Dilbert Principle is just a variation of the Peter Principle and critics think that this principle is only valuable for amusement. 

Dilbert

Is a famous comic strip created by  Scott Adams that shows a humorous look in office life, but also manifests lessons on behavioral economics.

In a series of cartoons published throughout the 1990s, he coined the term the Dilbert Principle. The concept was so successful that in 1996 the book “The Dilbert Principle” was created, which became very successful and it ended up selling over a million copies.

Promotion of Position = Demotion of Value
Promotion of Position = Demotion of Value

When a person is promoted, they usually turn to different responsibilities and roles which requires completely different skills and insights.

Later on, the company will notice that they made ...

Experience is not everything
Experience is a good thing, but this does not automatically make an employee the best person to be promoted to a more responsible job.

Before promoting an employee, the company should know the employee's level of knowledge, skills and ambitions. They should know if that person really deserves that spot. 

The Peter Principle and Occupational Incompetence
The Peter Principle and Occupational Incompetence

Peter J. Lawrence, whose 1969 bestseller “The Peter Principle” satirically provided many insights on the hows and the whys of incompetents working among us, is now being taken more serious...

Different Competencies

The skills that made a great performer excel, the aggression and the drive, did not translate well when the same performer was in charge of a team, where other skills like people management come into play.

The best teacher of the school cannot be simply promoted as a school principal.

Hiring The Right Person

A manager wouldn’t be able to handle a team of specialists (like Doctors or Scientists) efficiently, without any direct experience. This makes excelling at the current role a huge requirement for anyone being hired as a manager.

A fine balance between the two aspects is required while hiring, with one option being to change the hierarchy of the company itself. The person can be promoted without a typical career ladder, and continue to do his current role, which he is doing well.

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