The transition to managing a larger team reminded me that when everything is going fine, management is easy. Thousands of managers around the world inherit healthy teams in healthy companies, do little of merit, and get great rewards for just being in the right place at the right time. The real story behind some people you meet with fantastic reputations isn’t notable talents or skills, but merely an exceptional ability to choose the right time to join and leave particular projects. The work of managers everywhere is rarely evaluated with enough consideration for the situation they inherited and the situations they faced that were not in their control. We all make judgments of ability at the most superficial levels. If the results are good, we give praise. If the results are poor, we criticize. We rarely give credence to the feeling in the back of our minds that the winner or loser doesn’t quite fit the part. We know in our careers people who were shafted, taking the fall for incompetence that wasn’t theirs, and also people who slide through organizations as if coated with Teflon, causing misery and frustration at every turn, yet they move into promotions unscathed.
– Scott Berkun