Tempering Leadership Dominance

Most of us intuitively recognize different personality types. We routinely notice personality quirks in coworkers that baffle us, challenging our responses and relationships. Of the four key personality dimensions, dominance has the greatest potential to impede organizational effectiveness. Have you experienced this?

Self-centered by nature, dominant leaders need to control everyone and everything around them. While their passion, decisiveness and drive have benefits, their inflexibility and overbearing nature are extremely harmful.

When passion becomes all-out competitiveness, a win-at-all-cost philosophy spreads. Winning over circumstances is one thing; winning over challengers or rivals is another. Leaders bent on defeating those who stand in their way can debilitate—or even destroy—a company. Emotionality leads to poor judgment, irrational decisions and potentially devastating outcomes.

You see, dominant leaders are intrinsically hostile, resentful and prone to feeling persecuted. Employees won’t tolerate poor treatment, nor should they. A rise in turnover may signal that a dominant leader is on the loose.

Dominant personalities are also rigid, stubborn and always want to be right. Once their minds are made up, they generally won’t budge. When challenged, they argue and try to shut people down. People find them to be insufferable and won’t put up with them for long. These leaders make business matters personal, exhibiting an opinionated, pushy or authoritarian style.

When this topic comes up with my coaching clients, we talk about the effects of dominance: Dominance is the fastest way to defeat your staff and drive them away. Behavior must be addressed before consequences become irreparable. Training and coaching can help maintain leadership drive and zeal, while keeping ego-driven excesses in check.

Anger management training may be another option. Counseling aimed at increasing flexibility, agreeableness and accountability has benefited many dominant leaders. Dominance is certainly a challenging behavior, but leaders have more control over it than they think. Valued colleagues or a professional coach can help with ongoing feedback and reformative exercises.

I know that dominant leaders can learn to let their people breathe, function, share ideas and talk openly. With guidance, they can depersonalize issues and refrain from feeling attacked. Once they value unity as a vehicle for success, they’ll be motivated to monitor the self-sabotaging behaviors that inhibit it.

What do you think? How do you temper a dominant leader? You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here, or on LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in career, collaboration, communication, leadership, learning, outcomes, relationships. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>