I was listening to a lecture last night and the speaker was sharing a story of when he was the President of a University and was about to leave his position. The Academic Dean who worked for him, told him that he was interested in applying for his position and to please recommend him to the board. The speaker’s response to the Academic Dean is what sparked this post. The speaker, who happened to be the President of the university at the time, told the Academic Dean, “Please don’t take a step down to become President. You are in your anointing (your skillset and niche) as an Academic Dean, if you stepped out of that, you would be out of line with what you have been gifted to do.” As you can imagine, the Academic Dean got upset but I personally found wisdom in the speaker’s words. He told the audience if he was an Academic Dean instead of a President, he could not have done nearly as fantastic of a job as the current one because of how his skillset worked. He went on to give an illustration of his meaning.
The hierarchy of a ship
In our humanistic minds, if asked which position we would like to strive for, we always mention the top job position. If asked which job we would like on the ship, typically we would aim to be the Captain so that we could be “large and in charge.”
But have you ever considered that it may not be your calling? What if you were called to support position instead of being solely in charge? Does that make you less than a person?
In most of our eyes it may appear less than because we have been conditioned to try and make it to the top. We encourage our children and students to graduate, go out there and become in charge. This is poor advice because if the person is not anointed (gifted, or have that skillset) to do that; they will not have the human capital (tools) needed to succeed in those positions. This reminds me of two psychological concepts I covered on another blog post “The No Zero Grading Policy” https://schoolspiration.blog/2019/04/16/the-controversy-of-the-no-zero-grading-policy/
The Dunning Kruger Effect and the Peter Principle. Lets discuss the first one, The Dunning Kruger Effect, when a person has the confidence, they can work in a higher capacity but lack the expertise to do so.
There are a lot of leaders operating in workplaces, churches, and volunteer organizations that are working under capacity all because they desired to be a leader and never challenged that desire. This can be combated when you have good mentors in your life, people who would encourage you to self-reflect and/or consider interning in a position in order to see if you truly have the expertise and cognitive fortitude to be in those positions.
Here is an illustration of the Dunning-Kruger Effect
The second psychological concept is The Peter Principle which simply demonstrates that promotion for some people is actually a demotion. This is because when a person is promoted to a level in which they lack the expertise, they are essentially being promoted to a level of incompetence and will not be successful. This is what the speaker meant by telling the Academic Dean, “Please don’t step down by becoming a President.” He was talking about staying in the anointing, the skillset naturally given and not stepping outside of that area.
The opposite is The Roger Principle, which is when a person actually performs better when being challenged. This is the type of person to promote because they will flourish as the work gains more responsibility. If this type of person is not promoted, they will become stagnate and no longer work as well because the task will become mundane.
Some of you may have never heard of any of these concepts before but hopefully it will help you as you go forward and pursue what you have been purposed to do. Stop living by the world’s standards to “climb the ladder” or “reach the top” if that is not truly what is for you. Start being real with yourself by working in areas that compliment your expertise, whether you are a Peter or a Roger; you will be happier and less stressed in the long run.
Also try reading my blog post about Purpose, it touched on this topic as well. https://schoolspiration.blog/category/what-is-my-purpose/