Bright Leaders and Dysfunctional Behaviours

Bright Leaders with Dysfunctional Behaviours
Professor Adrian Furnham of the university college, London in an illuminating interview vividly describes how bright leaders or bosses engage in dysfunctional behaviours which contribute to the downfall of their organizations. Analysing the factors which help people climb the slippery pole to the top of an institution, he identifies ability and hard work. But along with these two positive attributes, he also pinpoints three personality disorders, namely:Narcissism, psychopathy and paranoiac which result in organizational decay:

The Narcissist Leader – He/she has tremendous need for admiration, lacks empathy, is preoccupied with being superior, unique or special, shamelessly exaggerates his/her talents, indulges in addictively boastful and pretentious self-aggrandizement, has a feeling of internal insecurity, fails to understand others, sees people as possessions for the pursuit of fame and glory, uses employees to reflect his/her glory, is capricious, inconsistent, erratic and has an unpredictable behaviour
The Psychopathic Leader – Known as the “moral imbecile”, he /she does not worry about others’ pain and hurt, is happy to use and abuse people in the organization at will, has a low emotional quotient, and is reputed for being tough and ruthless.
The Paranoiac Leader – He / she is distrustful and suspicious of others at work, interprets the motives of colleagues as malevolent all the time, keeps suspecting without evidence that others are exploiting, harming or deceiving him/her about almost everything, is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of subordinate staff, customers and others.

[courtesy: Organizational Performance Review, Spring/Summer 2007, pp. 30-32 ]


One Response to “Bright Leaders and Dysfunctional Behaviours”

  1. Rama Says:

    Very thought-provoking article! In the local context, more particularly in the LIS field, I can easily identify leaders with such dysfunctional behaviours. Post graduate students will find in them interesting case studies for their research. However, I believe that real leaders are those who inspire their staff, act as a model to emulate and a reference for their employees. Such dysfunctional behaviours are typical of self-appointed or nominated leaders who can do much harm to their organisations. A Leader is one who has a vision, who knows where he is leading the organisation and who raises above petty things to achieve the objectives set by the policy-making body. Leaders don’t create more followers. They create more leaders.

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