Avoid the trap of incompetence

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” – John Ruskin

One of the biggest complaints from staff in many organizations is that management has no clue.  There is a palpable sense of disconnection between bosses and the individuals they are supposed to manage.

Why are people in roles which they are not good at, especially in companies which pride themselves in hiring the best and brightest?

There is an observation called Peter Principle which states that employees are promoted to their level of incompetence.  It almost sounds too silly to be true, but I’ve seen it happen too many times to dismiss this claim.

bossIn a real life example, this would look like a computer programmer, who is the star of his team, getting placed in a manager’s role.  The skills required to excel as a programmer are vastly different than those required to be a great manager.

The likelihood of the programmer succeeding in his new role is slim if he doesn’t have the skills and is not motivated to be a manager.  Low morale ensues – a bunch of staff hang their heads in dissatisfaction and resentment.

While most of the blame is directed at bosses, it is clear that the system has set them up for failure.

How can this be avoided?

One way is for companies to place individuals in roles which play to their strengths and passions.  A programmer will not necessarily be happy in a position of greater authority.  In addition, with proper mentoring, coaching, and training, an individual’s chance of succeeding in a new role increases.

And of course, another option is for individuals to consciously choose to do that which makes their heart sing rather than wait to be promoted to incompetence.  Put a stake in the ground and pursue work that matters.  Life is too short for anything less!

What can you do today to unleash your magic and step into your zone of genius?

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