Why are more men in leadership positions and how can we change it?

News - Jan 30, 2020

Have you ever worked with people who are not as good as they think they are or as they present themselves? Also, have you ever wondered if men are more often those who are exceptionally successful? Naturally, it is not always the case, but it definitely is in many situations.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, and organisational psychologist, applies science and technology to project and understand human behaviour at workplace. According to him, the areas he finds especially fascinating are gender ratio and correlation between personality and leadership, namely how gender and personality shape our choices of leaders and  how those leaders then affect an organisation. Gender discussions are usually focused on lack of women in leadership positions, a trend which is, unfortunately, growingly present around the globe.

He believes that a much bigger issue is represented by the fact that many leaders are insufficiently qualified and/or competent for such positions. According to him, if we want to see what most people think about their bosses, it’s enough to enter “My boss is” in Google search.

So, the main question is why many incompetent men become leaders, rather than why there are not more women in leadership positions.

Research shows that there are three key reasons for it, the first being our inability to distinguish self-confidence from competence.

The second reason is that we are naturally drawn to charismatic individuals, especially with the rise of mass media in the 1960s and even more so in the digital era.

The third reason is that we are not able to resist the appeal of narcissists.

So, how can we prevent incompetent men from assuming leadership positions?

First, we have to follow the clues and look for qualities that make people better leaders.

The next solution is to trust our instinct less.

If we aim to improve the quality of our leaders and help more women assume high positions, the last thing we should do is lower the criteria when choosing women.

The article represents an adaptation of the TED Talk at the link below:


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