According to a new study by researchers at the Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, leadership during tough times means being selfish and aggressive. Apparently altruism and kindness at work is perceived as "weakness," while selfishness and aggression are signs of strength, especially in a "results-oriented" environment.
I find this disturbing on a few levels.
First, I would argue that our current global mess was brought about precisely because we are valuing and rewarding selfishness. An oft-quoted definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Continuing to value selfishness seems the height of craziness to me.
Second, how did being results and action-oriented become synonomous with selfishness and aggression at work? Why is it that we perceive cooperation, empathy and altruism as being antithetical to getting things done?
The irony, of course, is that we ask for "team players"--those who presumably value cooperation and kindness-- while apparently rewarding those who are not team players by moving them up the corporate ladder. It should come as little surprise, then, if workers begin to get the message that being a team player is a sucker's game.
What are your thoughts about this? Should nice people finish last? If not, what should we be doing to shift this trend?