Men in the Mirror: Rudd & Turnbull — Profiles in Narcissism

Sky News Australia is currently showing a terrific documentary about two former Prime Ministers of Australia: Rudd & Turnbull.  You can watch it here.  It is called Men in the Mirror because both their stories and their colleagues’ perceptions of them so overlap.  The two certainly exhibit all the characteristics of the Dark Triad.

My favourite quote was at 43 minutes into the documentary by Stephen Conroy, a former Labour Minister.  “Kevin Rudd had contempt for the Cabinet, contempt for the Caucus, contempt for the Australian Parliament, and eventually the Australian Public realised that he had contempt for them as well and that is what brought him down.”  I always emphasise to my workshop participants and coaching clients to never forget that GoGetter/Hustlers only listen to one radio station WIIFM or What’s In It For Me.

In terms of PEQAS profile I think both Rudd and Turnbull also have both strong Politician and Engineer components in their temperament.  If either ever did a PEQAS this is what I think their report would contain.

This style is made up of three components, all of which are quite strongly aligned with “self”.  The first component seeks the self-satisfaction of material gain, the second is assertive and competitive, seeking status and power over others often in a managerial form, and the third  component is largely concerned with immersing oneself in a detailed project, using one’s own  resources to achieve results. Therefore, one can expect to see behaviour that is almost totally  self-centred when these three aspects of behaviour are combined. These people have  enormous achievement drive, are inclined to disregard the rights of other people and certainly  do not generally seek their contribution. They believe in their own capabilities, will impact as  confident, very firm in their views, committed to their line of thought and they will pursue  their objectives relentlessly.

 Their motives are straightforward. They want to obtain the position that gives them the  utmost power and prestige, the material aspects of success, including prestigious job titles,  good clothes to wear and a comfortable lifestyle. They derive immense satisfaction from  being involved in important projects, which they can follow through to successful completion  and thereby gain. Frustrations will quickly develop when they come up against obstacles or  blockages that are beyond their power to remove. In tough circumstances, they become  outspoken, talking over or talking down to other people and they will be highly critical of the  circumstances that created their difficulties. Whilst their inclination is to push on regardless  and stick with unwavering determination towards their original goal, the drive for material  gain and self-satisfaction will lead the individual to raise the question “is it worthwhile?”  There is potential also, under pressure, for them to walk away from lack of success and look  for a more profitable avenue for their endeavours. The more frustration that develops, the  greater is their desire to satisfy personal needs and disregard others.  

 Their work style is generally organised, systematic, procedural, but with an eye on whether  they are getting what they term to be just rewards for their efforts. There is no doubting the  achievement focus, but they will also remain very commercial in their thinking. These  attributes, of course, can be put to extremely good use if they are constructively channelled.

 Overall interpersonal skills may leave something to be desired. Whilst the self-satisfaction  and assertive / competitive components of this style drive individuals to use some surface  affability to get people to contribute to their goals, the drive to focus upon detail and task  completion more or less eliminates finesse, so that other people are likely to leave them to  their own devices. This is to some extent exaggerated by the fact that they give out quite  strong “vibes” of independence, sometimes of arrogance and they traditionally take on  independent roles rather than being comfortable in team membership.


 Individuals with this temperament style are driven for power and prestige and seek  responsibility for the success of ventures, large and small. As a result, they readily accept  responsibility and would find considerable appeal in roles such as: CEO; General Manager;  Business Manager; Director (sales, engineering, construction etc.); Recruiting Manager;  Management Consultant Recruiter; Independent Business Person; Project Consultant;

 If you are interested in discovering your own temperament profile complete this simple 5 minute quiz.


This blog was first posted on LinkedIn of 8 May 2021.



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