Written by Emma Seppala.
To many people, the idea of compassionate leadership is too touchy-feely at best and bad management at worst. But new research suggests that rather than making them look soft, acts of kindness and altruism increase leaders’ standing in a group. In some contexts, that can translate into a serious competitive advantage.
When Nice Guys Finish First
Consider this choice: Given two individuals with equivalent talent and skills, who do you look up to and prefer to work with, promote, or invite onto a project? Chances are it’s the more compassionate one.
If that sounds intuitively right, it’s now getting some backing by science—with a few conditions. Wharton professor Adam Grant argues that kindness and compassion give us a far greater advantage than self-absorption. Nice guys do finish first, he explains, as long as they learn how not to let others take advantage of them.
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