People may not necessarily attain leadership positions on merit and skill—new research indicates that some people can get promoted by using their social networks.


The notion of a leader possessing special skills and qualities—that are either innate or achieved by hard work—is challenged by the work of David Goldbaum. Goldbaum's research highlights that the reason some people attain leadership positions might be less about individual skills and more about harnessing other's instincts and a person's willingness to conform to those around us in social networks. Goldbaum's modelling concludes that it can be less important who the leader actually is as long as the group accepts that one person will come out ahead and are prepared to work for that person. These findings suggest that our view of leadership may be over-glorified. These findings also question the objectivity of the competitive selection leadership process.