Why Are There So Few Good Managers?

So Few Good Managers: Management Leadership Venn diagram

Because good managers must also be good leaders. And good leaders are rare.

That’s the bad news. In order to be a good manager you require two very different sets of skills: management and leadership. Most managers learn the former while ignoring, or even at the expense of, the latter. Few managers are prompted to think deeply about leadership, and some unexamined beliefs compound this problem. A majority of people believe leadership is innate. A vast majority of us believe in the mathematical impossibility that we are in the top 50th percentile of just about everything. This extends to leadership. Most of us believe that we are natural leaders, and most of us are wrong.

The good news, supported by ample evidence, is that leadership needn’t be a natural gift, but a skill that people can cultivate.** Not all people, to be sure, but many of us can push our leadership skills rightward along the bell curve through education and practice.


**University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). “Are leaders born or made? New study shows how leadership develops.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141006133228.htm>.

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