Swallow the Leader

Bob Goldman on

If you've been waiting for a sliver of good news to brighten your day, it's time to reach for your Ray-Bans.

According to a study from Georgia Southern University, the employees most likely to rise to executive positions are charismatic individuals who demonstrate high levels of confidence, intelligence and extroversion.

Wait a minute. That's not good news -- not for you, anyway.

I don't mean to suggest that you have zero charisma. Your labradoodle is totally enthralled by you. (If you don't have a labradoodle, get one. Get a sheepadoodle, too! Nothing will make you feel better about yourself than double doodle worship.)

As for your level of confidence, that's so low a slug couldn't slither under it. Your extroversion? That's difficult to assess since you've spent most of your work life hiding under your desk.

Your intelligence could be impressive in some organizations, though you may have to wait many moons until you find a job suitable to your brain power. Too bad you didn't get that gig as Kourtney Kardashian's yogurt taster. It would have been perfect for you.


Putting it all together, it would seem that, in the real world, you are doomed to forever inhabit the lower rungs of the organizational chart. Luckily, we now live and work in the remote world, where all the characteristics that have "long propelled ambitious workers into the executive suite are not enough online, because they simply don't translate into virtual leadership."

Or so I learned from "The Surprising Traits of Good Remote Leaders," a recent post by Arianne Cohen on BBC.

It makes sense. What good is being a glad-hander if you can't shake hands? How much career traction can you gain as a brown-noser when your nose is hidden behind an N95 mask? Where are the promotions for kiss-ups if kisses ... well, you get the idea.

Analyzing our new virtual work world, the Georgia Southern study reveals that leaders are no longer chosen for "the same confident, magnetic, smart-seeming extroverted traits." This is likely to "provide validation -- and even relief -- to the legions of hard workers who have, for generations, watched charming colleagues rise to the top."


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