Sh#t happens in big companies – On Talent & Charisma

Posted on April 12, 2012


Thoughts on leadership based on an article I happened across yesterday.

From Malcolm Gladwell (July 2002) – “The Talent Myth: Are smart people overrated?” discussing the paper “The dark side of charisma” by Robert Hogan, Robert Raskin, Dan Fazzini:

It [the paper] argued that flawed managers fall into three types. One is the High Likability Floater, who rises effortlessly in an organization because he never takes any difficult decisions or makes any enemies. Another is the Homme de Ressentiment, who seethes below the surface and plots against his enemies. The most interesting of the three is the Narcissist, whose energy and self-confidence and charm lead him inexorably up the corporate ladder. Narcissists are terrible managers.

The essay’s synopsis:

This paper is intended to make three points:

(1) there is a systematic relationship between personality and managerial competence,

(2) there is a systematic relationship between personality and managerial incompetence,

(3) certain kinds of people with identifiable personality characteristics tend to rise to the tops of organizations and these people are potentially very costly to those organizations flawed leadership causes of managerial incompetence personality disorders and managerial incompetence narcissism

For a shorter version of the complete paper, check out this 1990 NY Times article summarizing the findings: Managing the Dark Side of Charisma.

From Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor’s 2003 article in Harvard Business Review – “How to Pick Managers for Disruptive Growth

One problem with predicting future success from past success is that managers can succeed for reasons not of their own making—and we often learn far more from our failures than our successes.

Posted in: management