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Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It)

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic



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Harvard Business School
01 March 2019
Business & Economics; Management: leadership & motivation
Look around your office. Turn on the TV. Incompetent leadership is everywhere, and there's no denying it.

There's also no denying that women make up only a tiny handful of senior leaders worldwide. In this provocative book, author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic connects the dots and asks a powerful question: what if the reason for the lack of women at the top - and the presence of so many incompetent leaders who also happen to be men - is not that there are too many obstacles slowing women's advancement, but that there aren't enough career-testing obstacles for men?

Marshalling decades of rigorous research on leadership to build his case, Chamorro-Premuzic points out that although women make up a minority of leaders, female leaders are often rated by both bosses and subordinates as more competent than their male peers. At the same time, most organizations continue to equate leadership potential with a handful of personality traits, like overconfidence and narcissism, that don't correlate with success. In other words, these traits may help people get nominated to leadership roles, but they backfire once the individual has the job.

When competent women - and men who don't fit the stereotype - are unfairly overlooked, we all suffer the consequences. The result is a deeply flawed system that rewards arrogance rather than humility, and loudness rather than wisdom.

There is a better way. With clarity and verve, the author helps us navigate the latest research showing what it really takes to lead and how new systems and processes can help us put the right people in charge.

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? is not another book giving advice to women on how to survive in a sexist world. Instead it shows how a dangerous leadership misconception can result in the wrong people rising to power - and provides ideas for fixing the system.

'...a book that delves into the data and the psychology of why we often glorify style-over-substance leadership.' - Huffington Post 'Women must must insist on right to be as useless as men' - Pilita Clark from The Irish Times
By:   Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Imprint:   Harvard Business School
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9781633696327
ISBN 10:   1633696324
Pages:   176
Publication Date:   01 March 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, a professor of business psychology at University College London and at Columbia University, and an associate at Harvard's Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. Author social media/website info:, @drtcp

Reviews for Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It)

Named one of 14 business books everyone will be reading in 2019 -- Business Insider Advance Praise for Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It): Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld-- The single most important book on leadership of our time. This insightful, innovative, original perspective is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to identify the best leaders for their business and to be the best leaders they can be themselves--men and women alike. This book is now going to be my go-to gift for everyone I know, in business and in life. Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, bestselling author, Seven Steps to Leading a Gender-Balanced Business-- This wonderful book illustrates how gender balance is a lever for higher business performance. A delightfully honest manifesto to transform traditional, underperforming, overconfident male standards of leadership into something that actually delivers, inspires, and engages. Brilliant and timely. Barbara Kellerman, James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School-- As the title--Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?--suggests, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic has written a lively and provocative book. For anyone with an interest in leadership, and in gender differences as they might particularly pertain, the issues he raises and the conclusions he reaches will provide good grist for their collective mill.

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