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New research shows that leaderless groups can find a leader if somebody begins to talk a lot. So, if you’re looking to become a leader, start yapping. And it does not matter what it is you say.
The Babble Hypothesis
The phenomenon is called the “babble hypothesis” of leadership. It doesn’t depend on personality or group member intelligence. Instead, leaders arise based not on the quality of what they are saying but on the quantity of speaking.
Lead author and researcher of the study published in The Leadership Quarterly, Neil G. MacLaren, think their team’s work can significantly improve how individuals within groups are trained and assessed and how groups are organized.
People tend to believe that leaders share fundamental ideas, although leadership could be the one who “babbles” most. Understanding how people are viewed as leaders and the link between how much they speak is vital to bettering the knowledge of group dynamics.
Researching the Babbling Leader
The study had 256 college students divided into 33 groups of four to 10 people. They were then asked to cooperate to play either the business-oriented game (CleanStart) or the computer simulation military game (BCT Commander).
The players were only given ten minutes to strategize how they should plan out their task and had one hour to complete it as a group. Then, one person from each group was randomly picked as an “operator,” where the job was to regulate the game’s user interface.
To figure out who becomes the leader of each group, the scientists asked the volunteers before the game and after to nominate one to five people for the leadership role.
Men Receive “Male” Leadership Votes
The researchers discovered that those who spoke more were more likely to be chosen. It would stay true even after adjusting a few variables, such as intelligence, previous knowledge of the game, and various personality traits.
MacLaren said in an interview with PsyPost that “the evidence is consistent with those individuals who talk more are more likely to be seen as a leader.”
Their leadership study also uncovered a gender bias that had a massive effect on who was viewed as a leader. MacLaren explained, “According to the data, men received an extra vote simply for being male. The effect is greater for the person with the most votes.”