Thinking About Promoting Somebody Internally? Learn About the Peter Principle First

Thinking About Promoting Somebody Internally? Learn About the Peter Principle First
Thinking About Promoting Somebody Internally? Learn About the Peter Principle First

So, you're thinking about promoting someone on your team?

Great! But hold on a minute. Have you heard about the Peter Principle?

It's this idea from Dr. Laurence J. Peter back in 1969 that's super relevant for folks in leadership. It basically says that in a company, people often get promoted until they're in over their heads.

Sounds familiar, right? What does this mean for you and your team, and how you can avoid falling into this trap?

What’s the Peter Principle All About?

Often, we promote people because they're awesome at their current jobs, not necessarily because they'd be great at the job we're promoting them to.

Imagine your star salesperson who rocks at selling but might be a fish out of water managing a team. Promoting them might mean you losing your best salesperson and gaining a terrible sales manager.

This principle is a heads-up to think differently about how we pick our future leaders.

Why Should You Care?

  1. Square Pegs in Round Holes: Ever seen someone great at their job struggle when they move up? That's the misalignment of skills for you.
  2. When Things Go South: If someone's struggling in their new role, it's not just tough for them; it can drag down the whole team's vibe and performance.
  3. Hitting a Ceiling: Talented folks might stop gunning for promotions if they think it'll land them in hot water. That's talent growth getting nipped in the bud.

Smart Moves to Dodge the Peter Principle

  1. Promote the Right Way: Look at who’s really cut out for the next level, not just who’s killing it in their current role.
  2. Up Their Game: Invest in training and mentoring. Help your team grow the skills they need to shine brighter.
  3. Different Paths to the Top: Not everyone's cut out for management, and that's cool. Create career paths that let people advance without forcing them into management roles.
  4. Try Before You Buy: Give folks a trial run in the new role. It's like test-driving a car – make sure it's a good fit before you buy it.
  5. Keep the Conversation Going: Regular check-ins can help you spot if someone's struggling and give them the support they need to succeed.
  6. Sometimes, Look Outside: If the skills you need aren't in your team, don't force it. Sometimes the right person for the job isn't yet on your team.

It's all about making sure promotions are a win-win – good for the person and the team. It means thinking about who's really ready for that next step and helping them get there.

By being smart about promotions, we're not just helping our team members grow; we're building stronger, happier teams.


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