How to Avoid Promoting to a New Level of Incompetence

When I was taking business school courses a billion years ago, we used to laugh at the Peter Principle*, “managers are promoted to their level of incompetence,” to explain stupidity in organizations. Sadly, current evidence seems to point to the fact that the Peter Principle may still be alive and well today, wouldn’t you agree? (Exhibit A: Dilbert)

Back then I’m not sure I ever stopped to think about what the Peter Principle means from the perspective of, “how can this be prevented?” How can we stop promoting managers and leaders over their head so that they – and everyone depending on them – aren’t doomed to failure?

Such a difference a billion years can make.

Today I grok what I didn’t get then.  What the Peter Principle was trying to teach me that I was too inexperienced to appreciate, was that the higher you go, the less your technical proficiency at your job determines your success. Instead, you need management, people and emotional intelligence skills. Why? Because in addition to paperwork, leadership brings you more conflicts to mediate, more distracted employees to motivate and more dicey situations of all kinds to navigate with your reports, peers and superiors.

Leadership can be an emotional intelligence minefield!

The higher you go, the less your technical proficiency at your job determines your success.

Ironically, this had been known to leadership gurus since the beginning of time.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. – Lao Tzu

So what’s an aspiring leader to do in order to avoid failing miserably at her own level of emotional intelligence incompetence? The first thing to do is understand that putting your head down and working harder to perfect your results isn’t the answer. Get the job done, but take on the personal challenge of developing your own, authentic, style of leadership. This is a personal journey! No one can tell you how to do it, but we can guide you.

Enjoy the short video below on this subject and then come join us in the InPower Coffee Break Community to take the complimentary diagnostic and learn exactly where to start building your own InPower leadership style!

(Can’t see the video? Check it out here)
 

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*The Peter Principle, by Laurence J. Peter (c. 1969)

Executive Coach, women's leadership advocate & founder of InPowerCoaching.com, Dana cracks the code on personal power to help women and men forge their leadership identity & mindset. Follow her at www.InPowerWomen.com, www.InPowerCoaching.com, www.Danatheus.com, and @DanaTheus on Twitter

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