There is a logic to promoting incompetent people
Finally there is some logic as to why so many incompetent people are promoted. It is a simple process really.
Take one individual who is lacking in the technical skills to do a job. In his incompetence he has to get other people to do his work for him so he passes the buck to everyone else around him. Senior managers spot the guy as someone who really knows how to delegate; he is seen as a potential ‘people leader’, skilled in motivating others and achieving targets set for him.
In this new role he is not expected to have any understanding of the skills to do the job, he can now legitimately delegate everything (including people issues) to those beneath him.
The people working for him now have more work piled on top of them as they ‘carry’ their manager. This denies them the opportunity of being able to prove their true management skills. In their conscientiousness, and through fear of looking like an idiot in front of senior managers and because blame only moves downhill, they deliver against the tasks they have been set. Obviously, the manager, with access to meetings with senior managers, naturally such access is denied to their team, claim the credit for delivering their projects.
Their skills in leading people are duly recognised by further promotions. Meanwhile those who are competent at doing their job are left where they are because to move them out of that role will create a scenario in which the business may suffer; but make sure that carrots about future promotion and bonuses are dangled in front of them to keep them performing. Needless to say these carrots are dangled in front of the donkey and always remain just out of reach.
It is often much easier and cheaper for a business, to reward incompetence – because skilled people will continue to do what they do – be productive.