The Case for Talent Over Gender

When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden took office in late 2017, she made worldwide headlines for being the youngest female head of state and for giving birth to a daughter while executing her duties. She grabbed global attention again in March for her response to a mass shooting that killed 50 Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch. Pundits and political observers alike praised Arden for her compassion and strength following the tragedy, and her ability to effect immediate change in the nation’s gun laws.

Her actions re-ignited a longstanding debate: Are women better leaders than men? The answer is often a “yes,” according to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief talent scientist at Manpower Group and professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University. His new book, Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It), explores the fallacy of confidence. A man who displays a confident, charming personality can mask incompetence in his job, yet there is scientific evidence that personality traits often associated with women are the building blocks of better leadership. Chamorro-Premuzic joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to talk about his book and why he thinks German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a great example of a good leader.

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