Archives for Leadership



Is Changing the Coach Really the Answer?

Much of the focus today on college football is on the teams at the top.  Will Notre Dame win the national title and finish undefeated? Can Alabama win another championship?  Then there are the 34 other bowl games.  In all, 70 teams have an opportunity to finish the year as a winner.

For those without this opportunity, though, this past season was a disappointment.  For these “losers,” the focus these past few weeks has been strictly on preparing for the next season.  And part of that preparation appears to be changing the head coach.

Already, at least 25 schools have announced that the head coach from 2012 will not be on the sideline in 2013.  For some, this is because a successful team lost their coach to another program.  In many instances, though, teams have asked a coach to depart in the hope that someone else will alter their team’s fortunes. Read More »



More Research on Why Nice Guys Lose

A couple months ago, we wrote about a study by researchers from Notre Dame and Cornell that showed how “agreeableness” negatively affects monetary earnings, particularly for men. Translation: it pays to be a jerk. Well, not exactly, but it apparently doesn’t pay to be overly nice.

Now, a recent paper from a host of researchers (from Stanford, Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon) fleshes out this notion by showing why nice guys who watch out for others generally fail to become leaders. The study looks at how contributing to the public good (i.e. taking care of outsiders, and even others in a group setting) influences a person’s status on two critical dimensions of leadership: prestige and dominance. People who shared resources with their group were seen as prestigious, while those who protected their resources and even sought to deprive members of another group were seen as dominant. Read More »



Narcissists Look Like Good Leaders. But Are They?

Generally speaking, narcissists tend to do well in life. Which is strange, since we usually look down on traits such as arrogance and inflated self-image. And yet, for all the reasons we hate them, society usually rewards narcissists in one crucial category: leadership. For some reason, even though we claim to see through all the trappings of self-love and big egos, we tend to think that narcissists make good leaders, and in group settings, consistently lift them to positions of power. Apparently, we’ve been duped. While narcissists may look like good leaders, according to a new study by a group of psychology researchers from the University of Amsterdam, they’re actually really bad at leading.

The study is due to be published in the October issue of the journal Psychological Science. Here’s the abstract: Read More »



Why Don't Business Leaders Assassinate Competitors?

Billions of dollars are at stake in the global market, and cutthroat competition often crosses the line into illegality. Corporate espionage is commonplace. But why stop at stealing your competitor’s ideas? It’s relatively easy to hire an assassin, and research shows that the death of a CEO can cause marked decline in profits. So, the […] Read More »



Even If You Curse the War, You Can Still Help the Warriors

A few months back I met a remarkable man named Gene Sit. He is a money manager in Minneapolis, with more than $6 billion under management, but that is not what makes him remarkable. He was born to a wealthy family in late 1930s China and, in the lawless years after World War II, was […] Read More »



How Much Does the President Really Matter?

Studies show that individual CEOs and baseball managers have less of an effect on their organization’s performance than conventional wisdom assumes. So couldn’t the same logic be applied to the President? Read More »



An Insider’s View on Modern Military Advancement

Reader Helen DeWitt writes in with the following description of the U.S. military’s current system of officer promotion, as told to her by an Air Force officer who just returned from Baghdad: Officers rise through the system without relevance to merit; promotions are based on the length of time the officer has been in the […] Read More »



College Football's Billy Beane?

Michael Lewis writes in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine about Mike Leach, the innovative coach of the Texas Tech football team. As Lewis describes it, Leach takes a totally different view of football and is on the cusp of revolutionizing the game. It is a very interesting article, and beautifully written. As usual with […] Read More »