Does It Pay To Be Mean, Captain Kirk?
Last time I asked, Do Girls Have It Easier, Superman? This time, for all you Star Trek fans, Does It Pay To Be Mean, Captain Kirk? In a recent study, researchers found mean people earn higher salaries. Men who were disagreeable earned 18% more than their agreeable counterparts. After the shock wore off, it actually makes sense.
What Makes A Good Leader?
I’ve been through a few jobs and have seen my fair share of supervisors. They had different personalities and management styles. At the end of the day, the more effective leaders had a mean streak in them. I couldn’t see it at the time, but looking back, it actually takes a person with a backbone to call the shots and lead a team. They have to be able to put their neck on the line, make a decision in tough spots, and not just go with the flow.
My Friend, My Boss
At one company, a friend of mine actually rose to become the head of the department. He was the coolest guy around. Laid back, easy going, always had a smile on his face and got along with everyone. Sadly, some of my more unscrupulous co-workers had a field day. Since he was so nice, these co-workers took advantage of him. They played by their rules because they knew there would be no consequences. To be an effective leader, the lines of friendship can’t be blurred and words like respect, discipline, and even a little fear can’t be forgotten.
When I saw this study, I thought the disagreeable ones deserved their higher salary because they probably were managers and led teams. When I was younger, I thought managers were good for nothing and just barked senseless commands. I thought, “Just get out of my way and let me do my job.” Now that I am a bit wiser, I see it takes a special person to plan, strategize, manage resources, and be the fall guy.
This reminds me of one of my favorite Star Trek episodes. Captain Kirk was split into two after a transporter malfunction. There was the soft, caring, sensitive side and there was also the wild, barbaric, mean side. Ironically, when the soft side was placed in the captain’s chair, he was unfit for command. In a crisis, he was indecisive and was a shadow of himself. He needed his mean side to make the tough calls during life and death situations. This is the James Tiberius Kirk we all know and love. Going forward, I suggest we all harness our mean streak. We all bring something to the table. We all have skills and experiences that make us valuable assets. It’s comfortable to be safe, not rock the boat, listen to orders, and be a yes man.
But are you really being all that you can be? Does it pay to be mean?