As a long time employee here, I am often asked by other employees about how such-and-such is doing, or perhaps what I think about them, or their skills, or how things are going. Over the years, I have developed an extremely simple method for answering these folks. Ultimately, it is not how management views people or even how competent people are, but also how they can socialize with others and get work done. I have found that many people can be extremely good "people persons" so to speak, and survive at a job indefinetly despite making many mistakes, for example.
There are rich examples of just about everyone in a workplace. To help out with answering the questions about so-and-so, I produced a very simple diagram that illustrates my views.
Now, this is a very simple chart to understand and makes things clear. At work, you can be a complete idiot, but so long as you are nice, you'll likely have a job for a while. Similarly, if you are a fucking genius, but a complete asshole, you can still have a job because people will over look you being a jerk to them since they need you. If people see you as both smart and nice, well, you are golden. You'll have a job for life. More likely though the person is just a new employee and hasn't been categorized into another position yet though... also more likely is they are closer to the center of the chart, where many people are. Not too warm, or too cold.
What you CANNOT be is an asshole AND incompetent. Those people usually do not last long at work. Now that doesn't mean they get fired right away... but usually they meet with ... accidents ... unexplained ones, and one day they are simply ... gone.
As I thought about this further, I was thinking this was a pretty good way to look at most things in life that I encounter. It seems applicable. It came to light when one of my cats came over to me and randomly BIT MY HEAD while I was reading (Apparently he likes hair grooming and such) that I expanded my employee chart to include cats.
I imagine most cats are somewhere just to the right of center, but you know... there are always those cats that start losing their saving graces...