The Promotion Curse

The records of almost 40,000 salespeople across 131 firms were studied and researchers found that companies have a strong tendency to promote the best sales people. Convincing others to buy goods and services is a useful skill, requiring charisma and persistence. But, as the authors point out, these are not the same capabilities as the strategic planning and administrative competence needed to lead a sales team. The research then looked at what happened after these super-salespeople were promoted. Their previous sales performance was actually a negative indicator of managerial success. 

People get promoted until they reach a level when they stop enjoying their jobs. At this point, it is not just their competence that is affected; it is their happiness as well. The trick to avoiding this curse is to stick to what you like doing.  Beware the curse of overwork and dissatisfaction. 

The Economist’s Bartleby column