As a young manufacturing engineer aspiring to a successful career, it drove me crazy when my seniors would suggest I needed more time to mature and develop foundation skills to become a strong leader. My argument, like many young people, was that the only way to get experience was to do the higher level job.
This all seemed to make sense and I stuck with this belief. This weekend I read Robert Sutton’s article in Business Week about the 40th anniversary edition of “The Peter Principle” by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull that might have swayed my opinion. The general rule was “anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails.” You might have heard the narrow career version where “managers will be promoted to their level of incompetence.” Sutton’s point was that sometimes we should praise and reward competence.
If we believed we had some level of best performance, would we be more patient in our careers?