How Super-Nice People Become Super-Successful (Really)

Workers can get ahead by helping others, says Wharton's Adam Grant
Workers can get ahead by helping others, says Wharton's Adam Grant

Conventional wisdom has long held that getting to the top requires a certain ruthlessness. In fact, studies have shown that CEOs are four times more likely to be psychopathic than regular workers. Compassion and kindness may be nice qualities, but when you're working at a corporation? Not so much.

But Adam Grant, a management professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, says that as the world of work has become more interconnected, success is increasingly dependent on relationships. There is simply more project-based work, so organizations require people to collaborate on teams to get things done. And more jobs require the ability to satisfy clients and customers. At 31, Wharton's youngest tenured professor, Grant (pictured above) argues that people who are "givers" most often achieve great success because they're advancing everyone's interests, not just their own. "Helping is not the enemy of productivity. ... it is the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity," he was quoted as saying in a New York Times Magazine cover story about him.