Are leaders born or made?
Some of the myths surrounding successful leaders and companies give the impression that, like Mozart, these people were crafting strategies in their playpens.
One example, Jose Mourinho, led 150 home league matches unbeaten between 23 February 2002 and 2 April 2011. This is in addition to silverware brought home by various teams under his command.
How did Jose Mourinho get to the top?
He found his mentors by moving sideways into the role of interpreter to top managers, Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal.
Mourinho built strong relationships with both men and became involved in coaching and developing tactics. He complemented Robson, who excelled at attacking football, by drawing on his own strength in defence. van Gaal delegated more responsibility to Mourinho, handing over responsibility for the B team at FC Barcelona.
'One of the most important things I learnt from Bobby Robson is that when you win, you shouldn't assume you are the team, and when you lose, you shouldn’t think you are rubbish.'
When do you cut the apron strings of your mentor and step out on your own as a leader?
Robson had some concerns about Mourinho's approach at Chelsea:
"That's the only thing I'd say in warning. Jose, and Chelsea, should be more careful of stepping over the line. I would also tell Jose to keep his mouth shut. Why is he trying to get involved in issues outside his domain? He doesn't need to take on Fifa or Uefa or get involved in tapping up. If I was behind him at Chelsea I would say, 'Jose, step aside. I'll deal with that for you.'"
Others comment on similarities and differences between Mourinho and van Gaal.
Mourinho's route to the top shows intelligence and a willingness to do lowly work to get close to successful leaders and learn from them.