1 min read

How star employees become mediocre managers 🙈

If you take 30 seconds to scroll through your LinkedIn, you’re bound to see several people announcing their latest promotion. And why not? Celebrating achievement is awesome!

At the same time, some of these people have just been promoted into a job they will fail at. Let me explain…

People who kick ass at their job tend to get promoted (duh!). Then if they do well at that next job, they’ll be promoted again. This cycle continues until they get promoted to a job for which they’re not ready yet. At that point, they’re stuck doing a job they suck at.

This phenomenon is known as the Peter Principle, which states that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to a level of respective incompetence. This happens because you usually get promoted based on success in your current role, even if the new position might require completely different skills.

This is most obvious when moving from an individual contributor to a manager. It’s particularly unfortunate because failing as a manager impacts yourself and the team you’re managing.

Aristotle once said, “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” He should have clarified and added that good followers don’t necessarily become good leaders either.

Interestingly, the Peter Principle also applies to founders. However, it’s obviously a bit different because you don’t technically get promotions. There have been various times when the success and growth of OfferZen have exceeded my ability to be an effective leader.

My response to being Peter-Principled involves two things:

1. Taking responsibility for the situation: form a no-BS assessment of the situation and where I’m falling short, then commit to doing what is required to level up.

2. Working my ass off to level up: Find coaches, books, mentors, etc that allow me to level up in the areas I need to.

Have you folks found yourself being Peter-Principled?