Photo: Peter Gene via flickr
Nice guys — and gals — may finish last when it comes to earnings, but that doesn’t mean their company has to suffer the same outcome. Successful entrepreneurs who know they can’t be the tyrant boss their employees need are strategic enough to hire someone who will do it for them.
And Mark Zuckerberg is a “good example of someone who realised that if he wanted to continue as the creative, likable boss in flip flops, he needed to have a bad cop around to bust some heads,” Beth A. Livingston, co-author of a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, told Denis Wilson at Fast Company.
He knows he’s an amicable guy by default, so he “hired [Sheryl Sandberg] from Google, and she whipped everybody into shape,” Livingston says. “They were pretty chaotic before that.”
Nice people tend to be too considerate and afraid to initiate structure, which can be trouble for a startup trying to establish itself as a legitimate business. Even in these kindler, more collaborative times, someone has to set priorities, pull the plug on an unprofitable project, or fire someone who’s not pulling his weight.
The study says that bosses who don’t make it a priority to be liked or don’t really care what their colleagues think of them “seem to signal ability and promise,” especially in settings where competitiveness and aggressiveness are valued.
“Less-agreeable people are also more likely to advocate for themselves and for others — a huge part of being a leader. A moderately disagreeable person might have the attitude, ‘I’m not going to step on people willy nilly, but I’m not going to let people step on me, either.’ ”
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