Are you a Psychopath, Narcissist or Machiavellian? Character Traits of Corporate Leaders

BlogBusiness EvolutionLeadership Development Posted: Wednesday 24th February 2016 by

Psychopaths, Narcissists and Machiavellians all get a pretty bad rep, but it turns out some of our most illustrious leaders have been labelled as such, as have a large proportion of business head honchos.

If they’ve been so successful and have not been vilified publicly for their behaviour or tactics, it may be that not all their traits are, as is commonly assumed, terrifying, unconscionable or just plain unpleasant.

Psychopaths can be incredibly charming. They are often good at reading others and working out what motivates them and what their weak spots are. They often have excellent oral skills, are supremely confident and are masters at creating the fright impression. They are charismatic and others will often willingly follow them.

Narcissists, with the right amount of ego and self-confidence, can propel themselves to the top of an organisation with their self-belief. They have huge faith in their specialness and ability to change the world or a company. Their strength of conviction about their decisions can make them easy to follow and instill confidence in others.

A touch of the Machiavellian about a person often makes them great negotiators, skilled politicians, sales people and persuaders.

A good dose of these tendencies can be the difference between a leader and a follower — and a great leader at that. However, the major downside is their lack of conscience and empathy and their egocentricity. Of course those traits are what makes them plough on regardless when the rest of us may have buckled under the external pressure. But if their tendency towards any of these personalities is strong they will often manipulate, trample and intimidate to get what they want. They may cover up their mistakes, will nearly always blame others and are not genuine team players.

It could help your career to take a leaf out of their book of self-confidence, determination and charisma, but beware of the accompanying “dark traits”.

Human Results offer expert HR services on retainer, or on a one-off basis to help guide you through the daily challenges of managing your business from a people perspective, including employee engagement, dispute resolution and resolving workplace conflict.

We also provide expert leadership development coaching programmes to secure long-term capability within your organisation, and a critical support structure for your leaders.

For more information, call Human Results on 01952 288361 for a no obligation, confidential discussion.

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