Article 050: Nice guys finish last. Be assertive

Be assertive

In a 2011 study, “Do Nice Guys – And Gals – Really Finish Last?” Notre Dame Professor Timothy Judge found that agreeable leaders tend to perform poorly compared to their assertive counterparts. Judge’s study illustrated how agreeable people in leadership roles are perceived as poor negotiators, as well as being less committed to their vision. The study concluded that there is a “strong negative relationship” between agreeableness and earning money, especially for men.

Assertive and decisive leaders, on the other hand, are perceived much more favourably by their employees. As their dedication to their vision is clear, they tend to fare well in negotiations and, unsurprisingly, they earn more money as a result.

Having said that, there is a cut-off point as far as assertiveness is concerned. In a journal published in 2007, Flynn and Ames found that after a certain point, assertiveness no longer has an effect on the productivity of a workforce, and, in fact, extremely assertive leaders eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. Moreover, if employees perceive a leader as too assertive, they are seen as being “socially insufferable”, and this tampers with their overall image. The team are therefore less motivated and unlikely to perform to the best of their ability under such leadership.

A rebel entrepreneur isn’t a nice guy or girl. They project confidence in their role, and they communicate their commitment to their vision very clearly.

However, in terms of leading a team, a rebel entrepreneur understands that the projection of assertiveness – up to a certain point – is crucial. Though they are assertive, they treat their team fairly, knowing that if they look after their employees, their employees will look after their customers. They will paint a picture of their vision for their employees, listen to their feedback and while they won’t steamroll their ideas, they’ll use enough assertiveness to ensure that their vision is taken seriously. They value the role of assertiveness, but they use it moderately and in accordance with their integrity.




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