Tonhe is very attractive Corporate climbers are a common target of resentment in office life. He — and research shows that men are especially prone to narcissism — dominates the spotlight at conferences, is good at grabbing undeserved glory, and is an expert at self-promotion. In many cases, he is the favorite of the boss. But he arose on the back of another obscure corporate archetype: the capable, hard-working but unremarkable achiever.
Research has found that many confident megalomaniacs, who do not adapt to the subtleties of management, become confident megalomaniacs. Companies disproportionately promote narcissists. Perhaps one in five chief executives fit that description, the researchers found, a much higher proportion than the broader population.self absorption CEOThis dents morale and, anecdotally, produces poor financial results.
Psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of University College London Harvard Business Review 2015 titled “The Best Managers Are Boring Managers”. Understated ability doesn’t call leadership intuitively. Many of the totemic bosses of this era, from bankers to tech founders, are pompous, showy and short-tempered. Elon Musk could be accused of many things. Dullness is not one of them. Even so, Mr. Chamorro-Premuzic believes that serious but unlikable personalities often have little-known but valuable advantages. They can make decisions calmly, manage teams deftly and are emotionally mature. They deserve to be promoted ahead of their colleagues because they have “talent, vision and a bold display of confidence”.
In 2002, Timothy Judge, then at the University of Florida, and his colleagues published a seminal meta-analysis of research on leadership traits that did find a link between managerial effectiveness and personality traits (such as stability, pleasant and reliable). One explanation is that a cool head makes it easier to calmly deal with the many delicate issues humans ask (humans can easily irritate more capricious managers). Emotional maturity is also an indicator of trustworthiness. Research has found that managers with dysfunctional traits such as narcissism are more likely to do bad things. Conscientious bosses, by contrast, scored high on integrity.
Dull but hard-working people can be especially valuable now. As companies increasingly claim to value soft skills, such as being able to communicate well with a variety of people, there should be a need for employees with high emotional intelligence. The turbulent business environment in which companies face issues ranging from recessions to climate change, pandemics and war favors solid leaders.
With shareholders nervously watching, chief executives face tricky decisions about how much to risk in pursuit of growth. Startup bosses who pride themselves on moving fast and breaking the mold are now struggling to look dignified. “We’re a very boring company,” Oliver Merkel, head of grocery delivery startup Flink, boasted to the crowd. Financial Times recent. This trend is also evident in politics. America’s Joe Biden and Britain’s Rishi Sunak have risen to their countries’ top jobs in part because their tiresome reliability promises to free them from the noisy incompetence of their predecessors. Times of testing require a cool head.
Still, quietly capable types looking for greater appreciation (and pay) shouldn’t sit still. In order to get promoted, boring people do better by raising their profile, whether it’s speaking up at a meeting or talking about their accomplishments. If they get the bigger job, they’ll need to master the show-off stuff anyway, like entertaining clients happily, running meetings, and sticking to strategy. While Mr Judge’s analysis shows that emotional stability and hard work are key to managerial effectiveness, outgoing qualities such as social skills are also important factors.
Despite the warnings of management theorists, the tendency for companies to promote the wrong people runs deep. Many people who get promoted are narcissists themselves by default, and they get promoted by wowing their superiors. The brazen self-aggrandizement of the pushy man serves as a convenience feature for bosses, giving them a shortcut — however misleading — to find candidates for promotion. Many managers are too busy to patiently uncover real talent. After all, they have other important things to do—like impressing their bosses.
Read more from Bartleby, our columnist on management and work:
Why It’s Time to Film Coffee Sessions at Work (February 16)
The Pitfalls of Loving Your Work Too Much (February 9)
The relationship between artificial intelligence and humans (February 2)
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