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A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? And what can we do about it?

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Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic writes at Ideas.TED.com:

Have you ever worked with people who are not as good as they think? 

This finding won’t come as a surprise to most of us, but statistically, these people are more likely to be male than female. That’s right — men are typically more deceived about their talents than women are. And they are also more likely to succeed in their careers. That’s because one of the best ways to fool other people into thinking you’re better than you actually are is to fool yourself first.

I’m an organizational psychologist, and I use science and technology to predict and understand human behavior at work. One of the areas that fascinates me is the relationship between gender, personality and leadership and more specifically, how gender and personality shape our choices of leaders and how those leaders then impact organizations. Discussions of gender tend to focus on the under-representation of women in leadership, which, sadly, is more or less universal.

But a bigger problem is the fact that most leaders are incompetent. Indeed, whether in business or politics, incompetent leaders have negative effects on their followers and subordinates, causing low levels of engagement, trust and productivity and high levels of burnout and stress. Just google “my boss is” to see what most people think of their managers (and maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel a bit better about your manager). You’ll see words like “crazy,” “abusive,” “unbearable,” “toxic,” and other words that are too rude to repeat.

So, the main question we should be asking is not why there aren’t any more women leaders, but why do so many incompetent men become leaders? 

My research suggests there are three main reasons, and the first is our inability to distinguish between confidence and competence. Across cultures and countries, we tend to assume that confident people have more potential for leadership, but in any area of talent, including leadership, there is very little overlap between confidence (how good people think they are at something) and competence (how good they actually are at something).

The second reason is . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

So, how do we stop incompetent men from becoming leaders?

The first solution is to follow the signs and look for the qualities that actually make people better leaders. There is a pathological mismatch between the attributes that seduce us in a leader and those that are needed to be an effective leader. If we want to improve the performance of our leaders, we should focus on the right traits. Instead of falling for people who are confident, narcissistic and charismatic, we should promote people because of competence, humility and integrity. Incidentally, this would also lead to a higher proportion of female than male leaders — large-scale scientific studies show that women score higher than men on measures of competence, humility and integrity. But the point is that we would significantly improve the quality of our leaders.

The second solution is to . . .

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2022 at 3:17 pm

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