Weekly Grooves

If You Want To Get Ahead FAST, Don’t Be A Jerk

September 25, 2020

This week’s groove comes from an article by Laura Counts from the University of California at Berkley, where she reported on some research by Berkeley Haas professor, Cameron Anderson. Professor Anderson’s research points out that being a jerk, while it might get you some immediate gains, in the long run is a bad strategy.  

In two longitudinal studies that Anderson and his colleagues conducted, they found that “disagreeable individuals did not attain higher power” relative to others. 

This flies in the face of some commonly held beliefs, but this belief stems from availability bias, where some high profile leaders are egotistical and mean.  And as Laura states in her article, “It’s not to say that jerks don’t reach positions of power. It’s just that they don’t get ahead faster than others,”

Kurt and Tim decided to integrate the thoughts of two great ideas into this discussion. The first is Adam Grant in his description of three main social interaction types: Givers, Takers, and Matchers. The other is based on the work of Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria, and it’s called the 4 Drive Model. We think both of these approaches add context to Professor Anderson’s work.

We hope you enjoy this episode. If you like it, please share it with a friend, mention us on social media or leave us a review on whichever pod service you use. We hope you go out and find your groove this week!  



“Being a selfish jerk doesn’t get you ahead, research finds,” by Laura Counts, August 31, 2020. https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/research/being-a-selfish-jerk-doesnt-get-you-ahead-research-finds/?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email

“People with disagreeable personalities (selfish, combative, and manipulative) do not have an advantage in pursuing power at work.” Anderson, Sharps, Soto and John (2020) https://www.pnas.org/content/117/37/22780

Adam Grant, “Give & Take” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16158498-give-and-take

Lawrence & Nohria, 4 Drive Model: https://www.leadersbeacon.com/how-great-leaders-use-the-4-drive-model-to-impact-employee-motivation/#:~:text=The%204%2DDrive%20Theory%20of,%2C%20and%20to%20Define%20%26%20Defend.

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