The Who2 Blog

Harvard Asks: Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

Why do so many incompetent men become leaders, while competent women stand by? Because incompetent men are better at preening like leaders:

Because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women… Manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

So says Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of the Harvard Business Review. It would explain a lot about presidential candidates of the last few decades. (I was going to say Republican presidential candidates, but let us be fair.)

But why make it a male-female thing at all?

[Studies show] that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men.

Interesting stuff.

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? »


Related Biographies

Share this: