That’s really the great mystery about bureaucracies. Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until it’s time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along. Being whatever other people want you to be, so that it finally comes to seem that, like the manager of the Central Station, you have nothing inside you at all. Not taking stupid risks like trying to change how things are done or question why they’re done. Just keeping the routine going.
(via The American Scholar)
Hence the lack of leadership in our country and institutions. It’s not that smart people doesn’t go up in the chain of management. But a lot of people that go up is a conformist. Without any new ideas to solve the problems that we have. Great leaders are the one who can think for the best of many, dare to change the current conditions for a better future.