“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”
-Laurence J. Peter, Educator
We all know how promotions work, you perform well, you get promoted, you do better, you get promoted again and the cycle goes on and on until you reach a point where you stop doing well and you’re left in that stagnant position.
The Peter Principle explores this very relationship between doing well and subsequently getting promoted. But what if the cycle continues and the employee reaches a point where there is no scope for improvement?
There is a Peter in every office.
The Peter Principle, named after Laurence J. Peter describes what can happen when an employee does well in one job and is subsequently promoted. She does well in the new role and is promoted again.
This continues up and until the employee is put in a position where she stops performing well and is, therefore, left in a position where she is incompetent.
Why being a Peter is a problem?
- First up, it is not a great idea to push yourself to a limit of frustration that you end up having a burnout.
- Furthermore, you will earn the resentment of your juniors because they have to work on projects that you’re suddenly not able to manage anymore.
- Besides this, your managers and higher-ups who were once appreciating you will frown on your inability to improve.
How not to Peter out?
Well, one way you can escape the claws of the Peter Principle is by committing to continuous learning. You wouldn’t be in a stagnant position at work if you have a lot of tricks or have a lot of knowledge up your sleeve.
Acquiring knowledge and education is at our fingertips quite literally (use FWD app!).
It takes time and effort but it sure is worth it.
Another way you can avoid this is simple, do what you love and you will automatically love what you do. Don’t take that job that doesn’t coincide with your natural talents under the pretext of “it’s life, you have to roll with it.”
That’s exactly what will happen: you’d have to roll with that position.
Go by this and you will not have to feel that sting of stagnation, like ever.