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This principle describes the practice of promoting employees until they reach a position at the threshold of their incompetence. Avoid this by training employees for the job before advancing them. Make sure they qualify. Why transfer them from a position where they were doing a good job into one they can't handle. Competence in doing one kind of job does not guarantee the same level of competence in a more demanding position.

The problem is not with the promotion, but rather with the lack of education and training to prepare for the new duties. Make it possible for your employees to learn their trade or enhance their skills so that they can first increase their productivity, and then qualify for advancement.

The affected individuals can also cause this problem. Some people are unwilling to give up responsibility to someone else. They maintain a feeling that no one can complete a task as efficiently as they can. On occasion, some individuals will attempt to take on additional responsibility without relinquishing a portion of their past responsibilities and find themselves in a highly stressful situation. Although they can perform all tasks effectively in theory, it proves to be impossible in actual practice.

Let your employees know that you will distribute responsibility based on performance, experience and need in specific areas. To relinquish former responsibility should not be looked on as a threat, but rather a positive change to increase one's proficiency in a needed area. Stressing the need for people to be flexible so that the organization can be flexible helps to make changes seem less negatively stressful.

NOTE: Peter F. Drucker is one of the most noted and respected authors in the field of business management. Several years ago he published what has been called the "Peter Principle." His books are still available online or at some bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble.

Mike Holt's Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills' Workbook. Watch for our next Management Newsletter and, as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to

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