Is your promotion really necessary? Many workers focus their hopes on climbing the hierarchy of their organisations. The prospect of higher pay helps explain their ambition, but so does the greater status that comes with each successive title.
This scramble can often end in disappointment. The Peter principle, developed by Laurence Peter for a book published in 1969, states that workers get promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. It makes perfect sense. If you are good at your job, you rise up the career ladder. Eventually, there will be a job you are not good at and at that point your career will stall. The logical corollary is that any senior staff members who have been in their job for an extended period are incompetent.
There is another problem with chasing the promotion chimera. A recent study found that companies have a strong tendency to promote the best sales people. Convincing others to buy goods and services is a useful skill, requiring charisma and persistence. But, as the authors of the study point out, these are not the same capabilities as the strategic planning and administrative competence needed to lead a sales team.
The research then looked at what happened after these super-sales people were promoted. Their previous sales performance was actually a negative indicator of managerial success. The sales growth of workers assigned to the star sellers was 7.5 percentage points lower than for those whose managers were previously weaker performers.
Scott Adams, the cartoonist, described this problem in his book, “The Dilbert Principle”. In his world, the least competent people get promoted because these are the people you don’t want to do the actual work. It is foolish to promote the best salesperson or computer programmer to a management role, since the company will then be deprived of unique skills.
Bartleby (a character in an English novel) is not an expert at climbing the greasy pole. In part, that is because he has observed a variant on the Peter and Dilbert principles; what might be dubbed the Bartleby curse. People get promoted until they reach a level when they stop enjoying their jobs. At this point, it is not just their competence that is affected; it is their happiness as well.
The trick to avoiding this curse is to stick to what you like doing. If you enjoy teaching, don’t be a headmaster or college principal. If you like writing articles, editing other people’s work may not give you the same degree of satisfaction.
21. According to the Peter principle, promotion ______.
[A] comes with gradual mismatches of capabilities
[B] gets less attractive to senior staff members
[C] arouses jealousy among their colleagues
[D] increases the level of employees’ satisfaction
22. According to Paragraph 3, skills of being a leader ______.
[A] are different from actual working skills
[B] pose a further intelligent challenge
[C] can influence a team’s performance
[D] need to be sharpened in actual work
23. According to Paragraph 4, previous successful sales performance ______.
[A] can be a strong driver for the company’s productivity
[B] cannot guarantee the success in managerial positions
[C] was a motivational factor to develop new skills
[D] was a favorable indicator of managerial success
24. Scott Adams holds that the best salesperson shouldn’t be promoted because it’ll ______.
[A] make the actual work be left undone
[B] ruin their relationship with their peers
[C] be better to choose the least competent ones
[D] cause the company to lose unique talents
25. The most suitable title for this text would be _______.
[A] In Favor of Promotion
[B] The ABCs for Promotion
[C] Promotion: A Curse
[D] Promotion: A Dilemma