I work in the knowledge field and the first rate boss doesn't necessary groom their hires but hire them for their expertise, expertise that the boss doesn't have. The manager's role becomes one of maximizing their hires productivity, retaining the talents, building on their strengths with the hope that the talent will stay, otherwise they will leave for potentially better opportunities elsewhere. A similar field would be profession athletics, the coaches/ managers most often are not good as their star athletes, they don't have a big a salary, but their jobs is to maximize the productivity of these athletes and retain them for as long as they can. You can see this pattern with the elite sports teams, majority of these coaches were nowhere near as successful as the athletes under their charge. Now, with second tier athletic teams, you will more likely find a coach, who in their primes, were better than the athletes currently under them. A current example would be Jill Ellis, the just-retired coach of the US Women's National Soccer team. She played collegiate soccer but was nowhere near the level of the players under her. Yet, she coached the team to two consecutive world cup championships.