If Most Leaders are Average, What Does that Say About You and Your Team

An inordinate need to win reflects a need for superiority. For example, I stopped playing basketball with my sons when they regularly beat me. We shot around, but no more 1:1 games.

Leaders that need to feel superior to their teams end up with inferior teams.

Leader with clown face

Leaders who need to feel superior to their teams end up with inferior teams.


If most people are average, you probably aren’t the exception.

Let’s get real about our leadership skills.

James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw surveyed over 15,000 managers to generate 100 ways to be a better boss. (Mind Tools for Managers)

Manktelow/Birkinshaw’s top 10 competencies for managers:

  1. Build good working relationships with people at all levels.
  2. Prioritize tasks effectively for yourself and your team.
  3. Consider many factors in decision-making.
  4. Knowing the key principles of good communication.
  5. Understanding the needs of different stakeholders and communicating them appropriately.
  6. Bringing people together to solve problems.
  7. Developing new ideas to solve customers’ problems.
  8. Cultivating relationships with customers.
  9. Building trust within the team.
  10. Using emotional intelligence.

Google’s top 10 manager behaviors:

  1. Is a good coach.
  2. Empowers team and does not micromanage.
  3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being.
  4. Is productive and results-oriented.
  5. Is a good communicator – listens and shares information.
  6. Supports career development and discusses performance.
  7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team.
  8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team.
  9. Collaborates across Google.
  10. Is a strong decision maker.

Note: The top list was generated by managers. The Google list was generated by employees.

A little overconfidence is usually a good thing. It bolsters courage. But arrogance doesn’t serve you well.

Reflection questions:

Which list do you think best represents the top ten manager competencies for your industry?

Which three items reflect where you excel?

Which two items reflect your weaknesses?

Which five items reflect your average competency?

Everyone thinks they are above average – CBS News