Harvard Business Review published an article of Tiziana Casciaro and Miguel Sousa Lobo about how we tend to chose people in organizations. We all know it is critical to choose competent people in order to increase productivity, creativity, innovation, and else. But, if you think people choose ones best able to do the job, you are completely wrong. The fact is we tend do choose people we like. And things alternate between competence and likability.
This has big implications for our organizations with huge costs. Because people that like each other typically share similar values and ways of thinking, making difficult to generate fresh ideas. Take a look to the next box, that show the four archetypes found:
As you can see and according the Tiziana and Miguel research, people tend to love and desire the kind of Lovable Star, who’s both smart and likable. Unfortunately, this type is very rare. On the other hand, the Lovable Fool is more common and mildly wanted. Is the type of people who doesn’t know much but is a delight to have around. The Competent Jerk is mostly avoided because, despite knowing a lot, is unpleasant to deal with. Finally, we have the desperately avoided Incompetent Jerk, guess why.
Things got more interesting when people faced the choice between Competent Jerks and Lovable Fools. Personal feelings played a more important role in forming work relationships, not friendships at work but job-oriented relationships. So Lovable Fools took advantage.
Of course we can minimize the effects by coaching, 360-degrees evaluations and fostering bonding. Take time, yes, but it worth it.