Key Qualification Laziness and incompetence as a recipe for success: incompetent bosses thanks to the Peter principle

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Copyright: Pictures by Kathrin Albers, Jim Lacy and Nils Hartlef.

Who does not know you, the incompetent bosses, in which each employee asks: How did he manage to get into the leadership position? Presumably thanks to much pettiness - and the Peter principle. You can find out how it works here.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Only the good guys work ...

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to their level of inability…. After a period of time, each position is filled by an employee who is unable to carry out his task. ”

The above embedded short film by Kathrin Albers, Jim Lacy and Nils Hartlef got the 2007 business award and shows very nicely: In our economic system the others are working: namely those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

The incompetents are promoted

In his well-known book “Dilbert Principle”, the cartoonist Scott Adams goes one step further: He says that companies intentionally promote their incompetent employees to middle management because they are the least likely to cause damage there. Or as Adams puts it: “The management level is an attempt by nature to keep idiots out of the production process.

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What follows inevitably is what I already have in my book on perfectionism wrote: Anyone who does his job very well, has on the career ladder the disadvantage! What one has to do instead in order to make a career describes author Hermann Rühle:

Lazy in the management

Wait for something to be done by yourself. If you do not, you will be able to go to the personal highform and get it quickly. Wait until someone else has done it. The work eventually goes to where it is done. Do not try to be there.

In short: The real recipe for success is to let others do their work as much as possible. This is also a key message of the video shown above: According laziness is one of the key skills for management, because these people out of sheer laziness looking for the simplest, most economical solution.

Always nice to make a stupid!

Intelligent, dedicated people are left with only one solution - and the one that betrays the film: feigning incompetence in order to be promoted. Apparently, bosses prefer incompetent employees so as not to jeopardize their own position.

So always make a fool of you, then also works with the promotion! Reminds me by the way Corinne Maier and one Blog post I used to be a career obstacle intelligence some time ago have written. (Attention: Of course, the contribution is quite ironic meant ...)

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Felt bosses and other busybodies

And that creates difficult situations for employees. Like this one: Actually, you have something completely different. But suddenly one is forced to deal with some junk, because ER occurs suddenly on the plan: The Busyness!

Often provided with a good deal of profile neurosis, he makes a lot of noise for nothing, for a complete triviality and one wonders what actually happened and what he is so excited about.

In the first moment, one is quickly tempted to dismiss the whole thing as what it is: pondering. But this only appeals to the conscientious, because it is bound to have its own meaning. Ignoring is therefore a very bad solution.

Colleagues playing

Because even if it is only a felt superior: If he wants, he still finds a way to drive you to the cart. And the more you feel the superiority, the more he wants! Incidentally, also factors such as new job skills and similar uncertainties in the job cause such behaviors.

And while you are still slurping on your coffee cup, in the hope of the values ​​colleague will calm down again, the disaster takes its course!

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He is always right - but ...

So what to do? Accept. Just tell the busybody. Do what he wants. Even if it hurts first. But then you can fight back with the punker's own weapons, just exaggerating a bit:

It then helps, as far as possible, to transfer the responsibility very subtly to the busybull, because he wanted it so - and he has now! Even if it costs some overcoming at the beginning.

4 tips to classify other people

Speaking of coffee cup: It helps to properly assess people here. The coffee cup can help. If you take a closer look in an office, there is another coffee mug on each desk. And he reveals a lot about his owner, as the Hamburg psychologist Annika Lohstroh explains.

  1. The dreamer: For example, people who prefer to sip their coffee from a holiday souvenir would have a good portion of wanderlust, according to Annika Lohstroh. By reaching for the cup, these “dreamers” chased after memories. “A souvenir like this can very well sweeten your break in your stressful everyday life: you briefly dream back into a distant, foreign world to draw strength and take a breath,” says the psychologist.
  2. The offensives: It is different with the "offensives", whose favorite cups always make you laugh thanks to a cool saying. "At first glance, this mug signals' I don't take life so seriously," explains Annika Lohstroh. At second glance, however, the cup serves as a kind of protective wall, behind which fears would be hidden. The brisk saying (eg "It wasn't me") immediately takes the wind out of the sails of critics.
  3. The demanding ones: Proper service from a cup and saucer is important to the “demanding”. Her motto: "If coffee, then please with style". "Anyone who enjoys their coffee in this way places value on good manners," says the psychologist. The discerning don't like things by halves and have a penchant for perfectionism.
  4. The Cavalier: Quite the opposite of the "carefree", the advocate of the paper cup from the coffee shop: this embodies a certain nonchalance. Lohstroh says that those who prefer coffee from the disposable cup go through life in a relaxed and carefree manner.

Whether one can say that so simply and flatly, is put there. For I know for each of the illustrated examples also counterexamples. But it's always interesting what coffee cups can tell about our fellow human beings.

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  1. Pingback: Leadership Agility Part 1: What type of leadership has the future grown? | CHARACTER PICTURES

  2. Tanja Handl

    An absolutely funny video. :)

    I'm more concerned with work, but that's probably also because of how well you can do nothing. Anyone who does not have it with Peter, but rather the productivity principle, I can at least recommend our new blog article: There is not in there How to work your way up to the level of your own incompetence, but how to get a bit more out of the day.

    Love greetings & thanks for the nice,

  3. Simone Janson

    Key Qualifications #Laziness & #Incompetence - how does #success & # promotion follow the #Peter principle?

  4. Holger Froese

    Key qualification Laziness & incompetence as a recipe for success: The Peter principle #Business
    Commented on Twitter

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