Topic: Personality, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.). Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.
Author: C. Anderson, G. Kilduff
Featured by: LitDigger
While attitudes towards group projects run the gamut, most people would agree that one of the trickiest aspects of any group project has to do with how people interact with one another. Many of these interactions involve various perceptions, opinions, and beliefs about the competency of other group members. And if theory suggests that groups give authority to members who offer the most expertise and experience related to the task at hand, then is there a particular type of personality that may naturally come off as “more competent” than others?
Anderson and Kilduff (2009) conducted two studies (each involving notably different tasks) to find that group members high in trait dominance (e.g., those more likely to dominate the conversation) were more likely to be perceived by other group members as more competent in the assigned task.
In a math task orchestrated by the study, trait dominant individuals were more likely than other group members to say more answers out loud, give more answers first, and offer more information related to the problem. But here’s the kicker (and likely the cause for most of the buzz): researchers found that individuals high in trait dominance were perceived to be more competent REGARDLESS of whether or not they were ACTUALLY competent in the task they were completing.
So, in group settings: yell out the answer quickly and often – even if you’re wrong! – and YOU will be more likely to emerge as the competent group leader. Just please stay away from any position of prominence or influence . . . please!
The findings in this article make me laugh because I have long advised to friends in distress, “Just speak confidently, and they’ll believe you.” It’s frightening because I never thought this would be so true.
Anderson, C., & Kilduff, G. (2009). Why do dominant personalities attain influence in
face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance. Journal of Applied Psychology 96(2), 491-503.