It is not Drucker’s view. And it is all the more disturbing when you remove the word “special”, which is easy to do as you read it. The “man with leadership
ability should be separated at a very early stage from the man with special skill and talent.” If read quickly, it suggests that leaders are people without “skill and talent.”
In fact, the problem of developing leaders hits an issue, and hits it hard, that bothers engineers and technical people. Leadership seems to be a general quality, something apart from technical knowledge or skill. How do you develop leadership qualities? Drucker asks, arguing that they include “imagination and understanding.”
He presents two ideas, though neither seems to be especially convincing. One is to rotate promising people through different units of the corporation. The second is to use the central staff to train individuals. Both seem to be mechanical solutions to a problem that resists such an approach. “the question of specialist versus generally educated person is not a problem that is unique to the big-business corporation.” He admits. “It is part of the debate on vocational versus liberal education that has been agitating the educational world for a long time.” But Drucker thinks that corporations may be able to solve the problem more easily than educational institutions.
We shall see.