The dark side of leadership

Leadership | 0 comments | by Simon Ricketts

We all have one of these in our cupboard somewhere...Do you ever feel that there are people you know who should have been more successful than they are given their talents, experience and abilities? Do you feel this about yourself perhaps? The reality is that we all have our own glass ceiling, self-imposed through our ‘dark side behaviours‘.

Unfulfilled career aspirations and potential, and even outright derailment are all symptoms of our inability to see, focus on and deal with the dark side of leadership. It is tempting to think that these dark side behaviours are overtly negative, and therefore they would be obvious to us and those around us. Unfortunately this is not the case – these derailing behaviours or characteristics or more subtle.

Around a year ago, we took on a psychometric product called Talent Q to offer to our clients as part of our coaching and leadership development work, as part of our armoury in helping leaders to counter the dark side of leadership. The elements that Hay Group have identified as derailers the following (amongst others) as limiters of leadership effectiveness:

  1. Hypersensitivity – are you either too affected by others’ emotions, or not tuned in enough – either way it is a problem for you.
  2. Isolation – too connected to others, or prefer your own company? Extremes are best avoided for leadership success.
  3. Eccentricity – research has shown that not enough creative thought can be just as limiting as being ‘out there’.
  4. Over-confidence – a balance of humility and confidence are required – no shrinking violets, but Attila the Hun had control issues…
  5. Micro-management – are you too across the detail? What would your team say about this?

We have found that leaders find difficulty in assessing accurately their own position on these factors, and so we are now licensed to deploy these reports and debrief fully to help people in leadership position avoid the downsides of the dark side behaviours.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you maximise the positive aspects of your leadership ability, and avoid these limiting factors, contact Simon at, or just call me on +44 (0) 7711 831992.

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