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Peter Principle

According to the Peter Principle, People are promoted to their level of Incompetency and sadly I can’t count the number of times that I have seen the Peter Principle take place and work to the detriment of both of the individual concerned and the department or an organisation as a whole.

This is particularly true, when an employee who is very good at working on an operational level is moved into a managerial role without being prepared for what it entails.

To avoid the Peter Principle and its implications there are certain questions that need to be answered before a decision is made to move them into a managerial role. Specifically are they prepared to:

  1. Act more like a coach than a player?

  2. Step out of the limelight and let their employees take the glory instead?

  3. Both organisation and motivate both themselves and their employees

  4. Handle paperwork and details?

  5. Spend a lot of their time planning and analysing rather than being with people?

  6. Listen to complaints and resolve their employees’ problem?

  7. Handle personnel issues, inclusive of disciplinary issues which could amount to firing them?

If the answers to any of these questions is “no”, it is not to say that an employee should never be moved, but that time should be taken to prepare employees so that the answers become “yes”.

This indicates the need for talent management, whereby there is an extended time to prepare employees for the moves and at times to develop more creative ways of promoting and fully utilising employee skills, without giving them responsibilities that they will never be comfortable with or readily able to cope with.

Susan Popoola

Conning Towers

Human Resources Consultancy

Leveraging the Power of People

Copyright 2007 This document is the specific intellectual property of the Conning Towers Consultancy. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated from content obtained from other sources and such content is referenced as appropriate.

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