2 Unlikely Traits That Identify Someone With Bad Leadership Skills

What if I told you that the traits that typically propel men into leadership roles are often the very same traits that get them fired?

Well, that’s exactly what Psychologist, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, has been saying.

In his latest book, Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It), he explains that what it takes to obtain a leadership role is often the very opposite of what it actually takes to do it well and keep that role.

How’s that?

1. Confidence Can Backfire

Chamorro-Premuzic points out that while most people look at a confident person and assume the person is also competent, there is actually no correlation between the two.

Competence relates to how good you are at something. While confidence is merely how good you think you are at something.

Thus, Thomas went on to further explain:

Decades of research suggest that on virtually any dimension of ability, we tend to assume that we are better than we actually are.”

Hence, overconfident leaders will often overestimate their abilities and make reckless decisions without any accountability for those decisions.

Of course, these decisions can sometimes be good. However, there is also a great possibility that they can quickly backfire.

2. Charisma Can Backfire

According to Chamorro-Premuzic,

“Charisma clouds people’s evaluations of how leaders actually perform. Rather than being objective, we are less judgmental about leaders’ performance when we see them as charismatic, and we are more critical when we don’t.”

In essence, many leaders have the power of drawing people in and persuading them. However, it certainly doesn’t make them any good leaders. Take Hitler and Stalin, for example. 

The Solution?

Chamorro-Premuzic says the solution is not to remove male leaders with these traits and then replace them with women. But instead, to appoint leaders based upon skill rather than traits.

This would naturally rise more women to the top and bring a different type of men with them.

Specifically, Thomas says the universal qualities that make all leaders more effective are: competence, people skills, integrity and emotional intelligence.

He further points out that having a high emotional intelligence is often associated with people who are more humble, honest, and ethical.