I recently watched a marvelous TED talk by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic titled, Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? Tomas is an organizational psychologist who studies human behavior in the workplace.
He made some very interesting points:
- Organizations and governments tend to be led by incompetent men.
- Those incompetent men tend to be charismatic and narcissistic.
- Men are more likely to have an exaggerated opinion of their abilities.
- Men are more likely to be promoted in business because having an exaggerated opinion of your abilities increases the likelihood that others will have a positive opinion of your leadership qualities.
- The most effective leaders do not have an exaggerated opinion of themselves. Therefore women tend to better leaders.
I used to work for a very large corporation. I noticed that the managers were generally incompetent and unpleasant to work for. It was obvious to those of us at the bottom how this had happened. For instance, a good engineer would get promoted to engineering manager. Assuming he was a good manager at that level, he would be promoted again, but at that level, he was incompetent, so he would be promoted no further. At the third level, his engineering skills were of little use; he mostly needed organizational skills for which he had neither skill nor experience.
If we imagine this sequence of events happening thousands of times in a large company, it isn’t hard to visualize an entire management structure filled with men who were promoted to a level that is just beyond their competence. It won’t surprise you to read that in that company, there were no females beyond the second level.
While I’m bashing corporations, I want to point out another video I watched recently, Robert Reich talking about, What Should Be the Purpose of Corporations? He is talking about how corporations make decisions and how those decisions are very short-sighted. My native American ancestors used to make decisions based on what was best for the next seven generations of the tribe—the way women would make decisions if they were in control. The men who run our corporations make decisions based solely on the effects on the stock price in the current quarter.
Let’s change the world so that our decisions benefit the next seven generations. Let’s change the world so that more women are in a position of influence. Let’s choose our leaders based on their real ability and not their narcissism.
Thanks for reading,