News & Opinion | September 9, 2020 11:58 am

Study Suggests CEOs With Boring Names Are Boring Leaders

When it comes to creativity, the Bills and Bobs of the boardroom have nothing on the Elon Musks

CEO or businessman in office
A stocky photo of a boring businessman type, who probably has a boring name and a boring leadership style.
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If you’re looking for a fun, dynamic, groundbreaking work experience, you probably should avoid working for CEOs with typical WASPy boomer names like Jim, Bob and Bill. This per a new study from Rice University, which found that unique names are linked to more unique leadership styles.

According to the study, which followed 1,172 public companies for two decades, the Elons of the world are more likely to be the boardroom disrupting, unconventional leadership types than the hordes of Bills and Bobs that make up the traditionally white male space of company leadership.

The reason for this, according to the researchers behind the study, is that “successful professionals who have uncommon names tend to view themselves as more special, unique, interesting and creative,” making them more willing to make unconventional moves.

But while plenty of people have uncommon names, not many of them are groundbreaking CEOs constantly stirring up Twitter drama with weird rants and proclamations. This, according to researchers, is because an uncommon name itself doesn’t make a person destined for creative genius. Rather, the study surmises that the combination of self-perceived uniqueness that comes from an uncommon name combined with the power and resources of leading a company makes for a perfect cocktail of confidence and eccentricity.

This, purportedly, is supposed to lead to a more fun, creative working environment. However, I, personally, am unsure just how thrilled I’d really be by the concept of working for an already confident, powerful man who also thinks he’s some kind of creative genius just because his parents glanced past the list of top-ten baby names. Give me a boring CEO with a boring name over an egomaniacal disruptor any day.

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