Organizations Where Average Leaders Excel

By definition most of us are average. Even though:

  • 68% of the faculty at the University of Nebraska rate themselves in the top 25% of teaching ability.
  • 90% students see themselves as more intelligent than the average student.
  • 93% of U.S. drivers put themselves in the top 50% of driving ability.
  • 92% of teachers say they are less biased than average. That one is uniquely hilarious.
  • 96% of leaders today believe they have above average people skills. Stanford University School of Business.

On average, most of us think we are above average. Leaders, like everyone else, suffer from illusory superiority.


In order to make a difference you must first believe you can. Confidence, not competence, enables beginnings. Competence without confidence is stagnation. Over confidence has its draw backs but at least it enables people to step out.

Thankfully, unjustified confidence starts you on journeys where average intelligence enables you to figure things out.


Gary Hamel, author of “What Matters Now,” told me, “We need to create organizations where average leaders can enjoy extraordinary success. The biggest constraints we face are management models not business models or strategies. We need our organizations to become more human.” (Gary is ranked #1 most influential business thinker by the Wall Street Journal.)

How management hinders leaders:

  1. Management establishes limiting controls. People don’t enjoy being controlled, especially leaders.
  2. Management centralizes authority. Leaders give authority while maintaining responsibility.
  3. Management creates hierarchies with stagnating approvals. “Ask yourself how many levels must people fight through in order to get something done?” Hamel.

Management isn’t dead. It needs a rebirth. We must ask, what innovative management models enhance an average leaders potential to adapt and innovate during turbulent times?

Final note:

I believe “average” people possess pockets of genius that represent our greatest potential.


Have you seen management obstruct rather than fuel progress? How?

What management models allow creativity, high performance, and fulfillment?