The Mystery Of Getting Promoted Even After Failing

Ever notice that some managers around you reek of mediocrity yet manage to find themselves in spectacular positions you can only covet for? The situation is made even worse if they think that they are placed in that position because of their caliber. Inflated egos often decrease the morale of yourself and those around you. Such is the issue that happens in modern day situations - where several lower skilled workers manage to find themselves parachuted (or really just taking the escalator) up to higher positions.

Parachuting is more commonly known as putting an individual who might not be competent enough into a new job. We see this in both the public and private sectors, where individuals who near the end of their tenure get rotated into a different company, and with a high-ranking position to boot. These individuals may or may not actually be capable of leading the company in their new position, but get the job anyway.

The private sector, which boasts a rarer phenomenon of awarding failures or incompetence can also be attributed to nepotism, where a family member (who is higher-ranking) will place their family members in positions of power. This is despite their failings and their poor track record. This is common even in large and listed companies. Of course if the relative in question has proven himself to be of a certain calibre, then it would not be a case of rewarding mediocrity but simply a situation of streamlining their promotion that is arguably deserved.

That however is not the point I am trying to make.

In most situations, we see the unqualified colleague rise up the ranks and earn the accolades we think they do not deserve. We see them getting more audiences with people who are authority figures, and often already earning their good graces through these interactions. This isn’t something rare, but something really common. There are several explanations for this. I’ve managed to narrow it down to three major ones. Throughout, we assume that everyone’s credentials are equal.

1. These people manage to leave a very lasting impression on their bosses. For instance, on the first day of their job, they manage to say something that gets their bosses impressed. It is the automatic response to take a liking to people who say things you want to hear. This is why the century old adage that impressions last holds some weight to it.

2. These individuals actually have a solid track record before they actually fail. The many small victories they attained in their career had already solidified their position in the company. One blunder, even if massive, can sometimes be forgiven. However, there is a limit to this immunity and the proverbial get-out-of-jail card can be used up. When that happens, the many times they manage to get into their boss’ good graces would amount to nothing.

3. These individuals actually find ways to connect with their bosses. In social circles, we tend to mix with those who share the same thoughts and mindsets as we do. Unfortunately, “opposites attract” does not happen for social circles. Having a clear link with their superiors gets them more well-liked, and is why they get pushed for promotions faster than the rest. Think about it this way. Would you rather help a random person in his business, or a close friend? The shared mindset makes you a closer friend.

The above should give you better clarity in why people outperform you in the promotional opportunities despite you having higher productivity. Take a look at the relationships in the office, and see whether this holds true.

Taking the examples into consideration, it is important to know which you relate to the most and how you can enhance your capabilities to perform like these examples. There are many opportunities for you to rise up the ranks even after failing. You just have to know how.

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