The research — due to appear in the forthcoming Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — also found that a person’s influence was not affected by how much others liked them. Dominant individuals were, unsurprisingly, not well liked by others, but were still influential.
“It’s not enough to be liked to make people listen to you,” says Cheng. “You have to also be prestigious — likable but also skilled at something — or you can go the other direction and be dislikable and be pushy and scary enough that others will listen to you.”
John Baldoni is president of executive coaching and leadership development firm Baldoni Consulting, and author of “The Leader’s Pocket Guide.” He says that competent, “prestigious-type” leaders often rise through the ranks in corporate environments and are likely to be groomed and developed as senior leaders due to their accomplishments.
“But this definition overlooks the human behavior dimension,” he adds. “Competent people do not necessarily make good leaders; you need to want to be in charge and know what to do with your authority. You need the ability to connect to others so that people want to follow you.”