Don’t Blame Your Incompetent Boss-Blame The Peter Principle

Psst! Want to know a secret? What will give your career a huge boost? Or to ask the question differently, what skills should you invest in for maximum growth in your career? As we will see, the answer is clearly leadership skills.

Want to be promoted? Want more responsibility? Want a higher salary? Want to be respected? Want to make more key decisions? Start by gaining the skills to lead others.

There are two attributes The Pareto Principle Meets the Peter Principle that are the most common among successful executives, the ability to clearly communicate and the ability to lead. Learn these two skills and you will be investing in yourself, and it will be an investment that will pay rich dividends.

We all have horror stories about atrocious supervisors we have worked for. I have certainly worked with my share of them. Poor leaders typically stagnate their own career as well as destroy the careers of others. Instead of motivating their staff they are de-motivating them. Rather than building teams they are destroying them, and instead of meeting goals they are missing them.

If you join me as we explore Leadership skills your career will never be the same, and you might just find that you actually enjoy having the skills of a leader.

Poor Leadership happens over and over. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have witnessed it myself. An individual who is an excellent technical employee is promoted to a position with some supervision responsibilities. Suddenly s/he is no longer the star employee that s/he once was. Usually s/he ends up working longer hours (60-80 hour weeks); yet accomplishes less in both quantity and quality. Her/His former peers may resent her/him. Finally, her/his career (at least with her/his current employer) stagnates or ends.

So what is happening? Why do so many people falter once they have received a promotion? The situation is commonly blamed on the Peter Principle; a management concept named after Laurence J. Peter. Laurence Peter originally proposed the Peter Principle in a book that he gave the same name to (The Peter Principle, Lawrence J. Peter, Buccaneer Books Inc).

The Peter Principle is based on this theory: systems that evolve tend to develop up to the limit of their adaptive competence. The book reasons that people behave in according to the principle just as other organisms and systems do.

The principle can be interpreted as Individuals are promoted because of excellent work until they reach a level within the organization at which they are unable to adapt and are therefore ineffective.

The principle goes on to reason that such people will remain at this level of incompetence for the remainder of their careers. It reasons that if they were “demoted” down one level to the last job they performed effectively, they would be happier and the organization would be better off because of their returned competence.