On Tue, 14 Jan 2020 18:16:17 +0000
Post by Pancho Post by Gfirstname.lastname@example.org
It's the Peter Principle at work. In any organisation, people rise
to their level of incompetence. Good bus conductors become
inspectors, good inspectors get promoted to IT where they turn out
to be useless.
The Peter Principle is nonsense. It assumes more skill, of the same
type, is required the higher you rise in an organisation.
No, I think the very core of it is that people competent in one set of
skills are not necessarily competent in others, coupled with the fact
that 'promotion' is always to some extent a move into a different job,
a move at least diagonally rather than straight upwards. If you reach
the top of a practical career, there's nowhere to go but management.
There is no career structure that just requires more and more of the
same skills. Any promotion is based on the recognition of existing
skills, and the hope that the promotee is capable of developing the
necessary new skills, and fairly quickly. Doctor Peter stated that at
some point in most peoples' (hierarchical) careers, that hope will prove
to be unfounded, and it appears to me he was correct.
We don't promote engineers into directorships, for example, where they
could continue to use their engineering knowledge and experience. They
are turned into project managers, a completely different job to
engineering work. Companies run by accountants will only promote (or
more likely, recruit) accountants to directorships. Companies with
'technical directors' who really are technically trained usually began
that way, and have not yet been completely taken over by the
bean-counters. After going freelance, the first business card I had
handed to me by the boss and owner of a small client company carried
the title 'Ingenieur', not 'Directeur'. I would never have met the
owner of a larger company.
We see exactly the same thing in the top-level UK board of directors,
who are all lawyers or political careerists or both, there's hardly
anybody technically or scientifically trained in the HoC. Competent to
write wills, barely adequate as barristers and utterly bleeding useless
at running what was once a developed, technological country. They have
pretty much all been promoted to their level of incompetence.
Post by Pancho
jobs require different skills. Often a competent manager could not do
the jobs of the people they manage.
Then I submit that by my first rule of management, they are *not*
competent managers. If a manager cannot do the job of someone they
manage, how can they tell if that person is doing it properly? One of
the tasks of a manager is to be the first line of assistance to one of
their department who gets into difficulties. The meetings and other
stuff come well down the list of priorities. A competent manager
doesn't need to waste time annually assessing his/her managees, he/she
already knows their strengths and weaknesses, probably better than they
I wouldn't expect the manager of a group of workers to be able to do
each of their jobs as quickly or efficiently as they can, but he/she
ought to be able to make a decent stab at it, to at least understand the
principles and know what has to be done. That is the single largest
difference I've seen between good managers and poor ones, from inside
and outside, over several decades.