Re: not neccessarily very good at brown-nosing...
Couldn't agree more, brown-nosing and imcompetence are probably the major issues here.
I once worked for a large insurance company where the "Security" manager was basically clueless about networks/hacking etc . So to avoid difficult situations he chose to be seconded by a guy whose "verbal diaorhea" was second to none. This ensured that the manager avoided difficult questions by handing them of to his brown nosed assistant who would basically aggress you out of the room by sputing utter nonsense or by "pretending" that the issues were not so serious, or that he was already "handling" things just fine.
The corporate ladder is not a place for honest people as they tend to disturb the stanbard flow of the Peter Principal... Evolving people to their maximum level on incompetence.