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Failing up: why some climb the ladder despite mediocrity

Most of us know the frustrating feeling of watching someone ‘fail upward’: landing successively sweeter gigs even after professional mediocrity or missteps. It turns out, allowing employees to fail up isn’t necessarily bad and can sometimes yield talented, resilient leaders. What is troubling, experts say, is the significant gap between who’s allowed to fail without penalty on the way up – and who never gets that chance.

BBC’s article on Failing up: Why some climb the ladder despite mediocrity gives strong insides on why this is and why failing up doesn’t work for everyone. Read some of the article’s key findings below.

Key findings

  • Hiring managers and decision-makers can be easily “seduced” by characteristics such as overconfidence
  • Similarities in race, gender, self-presentation and personal experiences can increase a worker’s chances of success
  • Once an individual is promoted, they become more visible to management, recruiters and other leaders; experience on a resumé begins to hold more value than actual performance outcome
  • If you don’t feel like you can take risks in your career, it will be much harder to grow. Use failure as a learning opportunity for every stage in your career.

You can read the full article here.

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