Recently one of my followers sent me this link to a recent Podcast by Lisa Leong, How to recognise and transform a destructive leader. Lisa lives in Melbourne and works for the ABC. She hosts This Working Life on ABC RN, and is the new host of Sunday mornings on ABC Melbourne. In this podcast she interviews Professor Paula Brough, Professor of Organisational Psychology at Griffith University and Dr Vicki Webster, Founder and Director of Incisive Leaders.
Brough and Webster have recently published a book Destructive Leadership and Its Consequences: Translating Theory and Research Into Evidence-Based Practice. I have tried to summarise their model of destructive leadership in the above 2×2 matrix. My understanding is that constructive leaders are loyal to both the organisation and their subordinates and have the flexibility and moral compass to weave an effective leadership style. I have not bought a copy of the book to check this out as the RRP is A$96 from Booktopia.
According to the podcast 3-5% of managers show extreme psychopathic tendencies based on the dark triad. According to Brough & Webster these managers are more commonly found in the Public Service. The 7MTF model of temperament includes psychopathy as one of seven core EQ components that are Normally distributed which means around 17% of the population have strong psychopathic tendencies. In the 7MTF model these people are known as GoGetters.
Identifying these toxic leaders is not easy. If you try 360° feedback the toxic leader will use the information gained in a destructive manner. Also GoGetters are great at interviews. Brough & Webster suggest you need a long selection process when selecting managers and candidates for leadership development and to use screening tools.
Then shortly afterwards I was sent this link:Here are the personality traits shared by famous psychopaths. It discusses how two researchers identified five key psychopathic traits: callousness, manipulativeness, dishonest, arrogance and cruelty. In addition there were another eight traits that many people associated with psychopaths: low vulnerability, low self-consciousness, low anxiousness, fearlessness, boldness, assertiveness, dominance and excitement-seeking.
My problem with both the podcast and the link is that both are too late in identifying psychopaths. You would have already have hired or promoted them. If you want some clues for quick recognition, I wrote this blog six years ago:
This blog was first published on LinkedIn on 21 March 2022
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