Yeah, that is right, I asked the question you probably have been asking yourself for years. How many of you have worked for a company and asked either how your boss got their job, or how someone else at a position higher than you got that job? We have all been there, we have all asked those questions, and every company has that person (or persons) that everyone wonders how they got there.
Well this CNN article attempts to shed some light on this subject. My personal view is I agree with all three points of view in the article. Some people are just not cut out for management, I don't care how much you train them. In fact, I had dinner with one of my best friends last week, he is an IT professional currently managing a couple of employees. He said he hates managing people, he cannot stand it, is not good at it, and has no desire to continue to do it. He is a very bright guy and very good at what he does, he is just not a manager and there is nothing wrong with that. Others are natural, and a few have potential but just need some training.
Which leads me to the point of this, how many of your managers actually received any training when they were promoted to a management position? By training, I mean they got more than the "One Minute Manager" book, or had a two hour session with HR on their roles and responsibilities. We always hear people quit a boss, not a company, yet most companies do very little to prepare their managers to actually manager people and help create employee loyalty. What most companies do is they take the best person at their position and then promote them to be over everyone else at that position. So a company might take the top sales person and put them in charge of sales. However, rarely does this work because the skills necessary to be a good salesman do not necessarily translate to being a good manager. Without the proper training on how to manage others, this situation is going to be a disaster. I have seen this happen over, and over again in almost every department in a company.
So is your boss incompetent? Probably, but it may not be entirely their fault, the company needs to take some responsibility for ensuring managers have the necessary training and tools to effectively manage the employees.