Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Jerks Still Get Ahead

The rise of the #metoo movement in the last year and more attention to inequalities in the workplace has prompted a lot of discussions inside and outside of the workplace.

David Mayer, a professor of management and organizations at the Ross School of Business, says that women aren't the only ones who can be treated unfairly on the job -- nice guys don't always finish first.

"Some research shows that when men are more agreeable and nice, they earn 18 percent less over their lifetime than men who are more dominant," he says.

Still, he cautions this isn't a "woe is me" moment for men, because they're still more likely to be in leadership positions and make more money on average that women. It's more a matter of nice guys displaying some of the stereotypical characteristics such as compassion, humility, kindness and being more relationship-oriented.

This is an interesting development as I've written many stories over the last couple of years that more companies are hiring and promoting for emotional intelligence, which is just such characteristics. Companies are finding that without emotional intelligence, there is less collaboration, teamwork and creativity -- and that hits the bottom line.

If companies really want to develop emotional intelligence within their ranks, then they're going to have to do more to reward those who have it, such as women and nice guys.

Mayer says that when he asked his students about whether they've worked at places where it's OK to act like a jerk and still get promoted, about 80 percent said that had been their experience.

"I think it's something we can change as we look into the future," he says.

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