The research is in, straight from the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business. Nice guys do not finish last. Being disagreeable and selfish does not help you get ahead. The research confirming this actually involves two studies. (Read Being a Selfish Jerk Doesn’t Get You Ahead for a review.) The first study involved 457 participants to assess the relationship between power and disagreeableness. Disagreeableness involved quarrelsome, cold, callous, and selfish behavior as well as the use of deception and manipulation to reach goals. This study found no relationship between power and disagreeableness. Selfish, deceitful, aggressive people were no more likely to reach positions of power than those who are generous, trustworthy, and nice. Disagreeableness (quarrelsome, selfish, deception, manipulation) did not result in gaining power. Nor did it contribute to gaining power more quickly.
The second study looked at four ways people can attain power. By looking at various manners of gaining power, the researchers were able to confirm that a disagreeable person’s lack of positive social interactions cancelled out the advantage any aggressive behavior might have offered. In addition, agreeable people in power achieved better outcomes than disagreeable people in power.
In summary, both disagreeable and agreeable people can attain positions of power, but agreeable people produce better results. The agreeable person motivates others to achieve their best, elicit greater work, and establishes an environment in which people work together more effectively. As a result, the agreeable person achieves greater results.
Why do I write this for a family website? Because our family environment helps shape the adults of tomorrow. Our family environment will either contribute to our children’s behavior, either agreeable behavior or disagreeable behavior. We can begin now to create an environment that will help them experience greater relationships and success as an adult. Here are 6 practices you can implement in your home that will help teach your children agreeableness.
- Teach empathy. (Check out some Everyday Conversation that Teaches Kindness.)
- Nurture a healthy marriage. (Your Marriage & Teen Cyberbullying shows one area in which your healthy marriage impacts your children.)
- Play with your children. (It’s All Fun and Games Until…It’s Something More.)
- Challenge your teens & family to engage in acts of kindness. (Learn more in A Challenge for Families of Teens.)
- Model agreeableness. (Your Children Are Watching…Teach Them Well)
- Practice Gratitude. In fact, gratitude is an amazing, Free Supplement for Your Family’s Health.
What are some ways you teach your children to be agreeable?