No, confidence is not always king
No, confidence is not always king: The mistaken belief that confidence always equals great leadership often results in arrogant men taking top roles they are not well suited to, business psychology professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic argues in his book Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? Modern workplace culture tends to prize confidence over virtually all other leadership traits, with 63% of the 3k women surveyed in a recent KPMG study on women’s leadership (pdf) citing confidence and determination as the top two characteristics of leaders. But while charisma may be dazzling, overconfidence can actually be a compensatory strategy for lower competence, Chamorro-Premuzic argues.
Modest leadership, often exhibited by women, is actually more effective: Several studies — including Google’s Project Oxygen — show that the best leaders are more focused on the well-being of their teams and individual team members than they are on personal glory. Traits such as emotional intelligence, empathy, and clear communication create a supportive environment, where teams can focus on achieving results. At heart, employees want their leaders to be “one of us” and not “one of them,” research shows. The so-called “confidence gap” between men and women is a fallacy, Chamorro-Premuzic claims, saying rather that women are less likely to overrate themselves compared to their male counterparts. This is partly because assertive women face backlash when promoting their abilities that men don’t have to contend with.