The Peter Principle states that “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”, meaning that employees tend to be promoted until they reach a position at which they cannot work competently. It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle.
I’ve seen this happen many times in sales. The best salespeople are promoted to the next logical step: sales manager. The problem is that the skill set needed to excel in a managerial role is very different from that needed to excel in a sales role. Clearly, selling skills help if they are able to utilize those skills in coaching their employees. But people skills are more important to a manager in building a high performance sales team.
Apparently, the same is true in the tech world. Google was convinced that the best managers were technical experts. However, in a recent study they conducted, they discovered that the number one skill people want from managers is for them to be a coach. In fact, technical skills were way down the list.
Too often great employees are promoted to management positions for which they are unprepared – their level of incompetence. To avoid the resulting disengagement, discontent, and damage to the new manager and their team, prepare them in advance of a promotion. Pre-management training can enable potential new managers to go into their promoted position with their eyes wide open and this will minimize damage to their performance and that of the rest of their team. In addition, a strong management development training program will insure new managers navigate the learning curve as quickly and painlessly as possible.