The Peter Principle



The Peter Principle, named after the Canadian researcher Dr. Laurence J. Peter (1910-90) who popularized this observation in his 1969 book The Peter Principle, maintains that everyone rises to their level of incompetence. So if you can do a job you are promoted until you reach a job you cannot do. And there you remain. So the bulk of work in an organisation is done by people who have not risen to their level of incompetence. Yet.

Gotthold Lessing first described this phenomenon in 1767 when he said  To become more than a sergeant? I don’t consider it. I am a good sergeant; I might easily make a bad captain, and certainly a worse general.

Just because you are good at your job does not mean you will be good at every other job. Unfortunately, many people are rewarded for good performance by being promoted to managerial positions. Where they often fail. So there they sit, forever torturing their staff. Unable to be promoted because they have reached their level of incompetence.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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