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It's Always Something
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It's always something, though not totally unexpected. With the recent mass exit (retirement) of managers and supervisors, we're looking at top-to-bottom reorganization.

Like all change, some of it will be exciting and challenging; some of it will be devastating and challenging. It's interesting to see how incompetence gets promoted, even when top management says, "We're looking for the best and brightest."

I find myself wondering why this is so. I'm not so cynical that I think incompetents are promoted on purpose, to make their bosses feel superior. Nor do I think it's done consciously.

When teachers were promoted into assistant principal and principal positions, or specialist assignments, the upward push seems to have been based on one of two baselines: either the person was a highly competent teacher or the candidate was a good ol' boy, well-liked and buddy with everyone.

In the first case, teaching competence does not necessarily translate into supervisory/management competence. The skills sets overlap somewhat, but diverge in wide areas. Therefore, gifted teachers, once promoted, were often an ill fit for their new roles.

I imagine this is true in other organizations also.

The second case is well-known and memorialized in the saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." The promotion is based on liking; managers (and all of us) prefer people who share an outlook on life and hold similar values. Therefore, incompetence gets promoted and reinforced (and not challenged by those of high intelligence and excellent skills).

The result: idiot bosses, flailing around, dependent on skilled secretaries and seconds-in-command, who really run the show. The more incompetent they know themselves to be, the more self-important they become, as their levels of intelligence, knowledge and energy hit the demand they can't quite handle.

(It was often their secretary or lieutenant who wrote the brilliant report or had the great idea that got them promoted in the first place).

And so they muck up the works until they retire--and leave the next generation of newly hired bosses, who reflect them in ability and personality, to disappoint us all over again.

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