Change Leadership Watch
14.7K views | +2 today
Change Leadership Watch
How change happens and who is leading it.  For the BEST of the BEST curated news SUBSCRIBE to our monthly newsletter via (We never SPAM!)
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Does it Pay to Be a Jerk? - Updating Nice Guys Finish Last

Does it Pay to Be a Jerk? - Updating Nice Guys Finish Last | Change Leadership Watch |

New research confirms what they say about nice guys...[or at least the result is a lot more nuanced that it seems.



Givers dominate not only the top of the success ladder but the bottom, too, precisely because they risk exploitation by takers.



We have some well-worn aphorisms…courtesy of Machiavelli (“It is far better to be feared than loved”), Dale Carnegie (“Begin with praise and honest appreciation”), and Leo Durocher (who may or may not have actually said “Nice guys finish last”). More recently, books like The Power of Nice and The Upside of Your Dark Side have continued in the same vein: long on certainty, short on proof.


So it was a breath of fresh air when, in 2013, there appeared a book that brought data into the debate. The author, Adam Grant, is a 33-year-old Wharton professor, and his best-selling book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, offers evidence that “givers”—people who share their time, contacts, or know-how without expectation of payback—dominate the top of their fields. “This pattern holds up across the board,” Grant wrote—from engineers in California to salespeople in North Carolina to medical students in Belgium. …[T]he book appears to have swung the tide of business opinion toward the happier, nice-guys-finish-first scenario.


And yet suspicions …remain—fueled, in part, by …Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson.  …Since Steve Jobs was published in 2011, “I think I’ve had 10 conversations where CEOs have looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you think I should be more of an asshole?’” says Robert Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford, whose book, The No Asshole Rule, nonetheless includes a chapter titled “The Virtues of Assholes.”


In Grant’s framework, the mentor in this story would be classified as a “taker,” which brings us to a major complexity in his findings. Givers dominate not only the top of the success ladder but the bottom, too, precisely because they risk exploitation by takers. It’s a nuance that’s often lost in the book’s popular rendering.


…[M]anagement professor Donald Hambrick, of Penn State [knows] academic psychology’s definition of narcissism—a trait Hambrick measured in CEOs and then plotted against the performance of their companies, in a 2007 study with Arijit Chatterjee.

…Hambrick…chose a set of indirect measures: the prominence of each CEO’s picture in the company’s annual report; the size of the CEO’s paycheck compared with that of the next-highest-paid person in the company; the frequency with which the CEO’s name appeared in company press releases. Lastly, he looked at the CEO’s use of pronouns in press interviews, comparing the frequency of the first-person plural with that of the first-person singular. Then he rolled all the results into a single narcissism indicator.

How did the narcissists fare? Hambrick …ound that the narcissists were like Grant’s givers: they clustered near both extremes of the success spectrum.

Related posts by Deb:




Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The humility and selflessness of Collin's Level 5 leadership, as well as Professor Adam Grant's important work on Givers, Takers and Matchers shows a nuance about timing and intensity.  It seems giving can include a goodly portion of challenge and dominance, among the expectation of the group surveyed.   Collins describes Level 5 leaders as those in whom genuine personal humility blends with intense professional will.  Perhaps intensity is a key description for those leaders.  

NOTE that:

..."In at least three situations, a touch of jerkiness can be helpful.

1) ...if your job, or [an] element of it, involves a series of onetime encounters in which reputational blowback has minimal effect.

2) The second is in that evanescent moment [when] group has formed but its hierarchy has not.


[3 The third—not fully explored here, but worth mentioning—is when the group’s survival is in question, speed is essential, and a paralyzing existential doubt is in the air."  

(Numbering added by Deb)   

Kudos's curator insight, July 21, 2015 11:56 AM

This is a really good article. I am not sure what does work best. But you are who you are. You are a jerk or you are a nice guy or girl but you can learn the competencies that will make you and your company successful if you tend to have nicer tendencies.


What I took away at the end of the article is you need these qualities to be a great leader:



If you want people to follow you - you need to show people you care about success. People want to follow a winner.


You do not need to be a Jerk or Narcissist to get results but you need to be tough, direct and challenge people when it is appropriate to get results. Then appreciate them and give them Kudos when they do well. You then will develop shared behaviours that will make the whole company successful. Disagreeable Givers is a great term and worth striving for.


My favourite part was the Steve Jobs argument. He was a jerk and a narcissist and built a great company we all admire. But his Jerk tendencies got him fired and it was his kinder gentler self after he reflected on things in his exile that lead to his ultimate success on his return. He was a better leader when he came back. A little less of a total jerk and he actually did praise when appropriate and gave credit where credit was due. But he still pushed people relentlessly and they respected him for that because of the spill over effect. By him doing well, the whole team and company did well. He had the above qualities.


If he was the only one that did well - seeking money, prestige and acclaim - he would have been exiled again and the Apple would have failed. Hard to even imagine. But the question you have to ask - was his jerk behaviour the reason for the success or was Appel and Jobs successful despite his narcissistic tendencies? Hmmmm?


There are wartime CEO's and Peace time CEO's and they need to act differently to be successful based on the circumstances. Steve jobs was a very good wartime CEO.


But follow the rules of engagement and you will be successful all the time.



Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

What Behavior Characteristics Do the Best Change Leaders Exhibit? | Daryl Conner

What Behavior Characteristics Do the Best Change Leaders Exhibit? | Daryl Conner | Change Leadership Watch |

How can you be fully prepared to help assess senior-level leaders for change roles?

Daryl Conner, one of the earliest practitioners, author and consultancy for the modern change management practice, is sharing gems in a 2 part series about change leader behaviors.


...surfacing obstacles and addressing risks are inherent

to successfully managing change


The lists of Leader behaviors are useful references when looking at the leader case studies and examples on this curation stream.

Here are some excerpts from Daryl's 2 part series:


  • Approaches change as a process rather than an event
  • Guards the most important change priorities
  • Matches responsibility with authority when assigning change-related tasks/roles

                     - Ensures people understand that surfacing

                        obstacles and addressing risks are inherent

                        to successfully managing change


                     - Instills a culture where problems that are       

                       surfaced and mitigated early are seen in a positive

                       light, rather than as something to be hidden 


No comment yet.
Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Tim Pernetti, Rutgers Athletic Director, Resigns

Tim Pernetti, Rutgers Athletic Director, Resigns | Change Leadership Watch |
The circle of those who saw video of a coach’s abusive acts as soon as December was wider than had been understood.

On Friday morning, two days after Mr. Rice was fired, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned, and implied that he was being made a scapegoat.

  • He said his initial inclination when he saw the videos last fall was to fire Mr. Rice, but “Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel.”


Robert L. Barchi, the president of Rutgers, placed the blame on Mr. Pernetti and other senior officials who he said recommended that Mr. Rice be suspended rather than fired.


The contradictory accounts signaled a deepening discord in the fallout over a decision that has outraged state lawmakers, faculty and students.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

A lawyer's report, HR directors, personnel process and administrators aren't enough to balance out the public impact of this coaches behavior on video, now becoming a cautionary tale. ~ Deb

No comment yet.