The present study describes the relationship between three individual predictor variables and the degree of professional expertise of higher level employees in three different career stages. Professional expertise is operationalised by means of five dimensions, i.e. knowledge, meta-cognitive knowledge, skills, social recognition and growth and flexibility. The factors in question are: the degree of participation in social networks, the degree of participation in training and development programmes and the degree of initiatives that are taken by the individual employee to further career growth. Hypotheses have been tested with original survey data from 420 higher level employees and 224 direct supervisors. The results indicate that the focus of attention is, in general, restricted to the employee’s present contribution and to the familiar job domain. Activities aimed at enlarging the outlook are virtually non-existent. That is to say, management is preoccupied with instrumental leadership, i.e. aimed at the here-and-now and less future-oriented, instead of appropriate people management.