Friday, July 06, 2007

Political personality types

There are fundamental differences between politics and business but there are similarities too. Some, but not all, of the qualities which can lead to success in one field are also required for the other and vice versa.

So this article in the Globe and Mail today (Seven Deadly Leadership Sins) which outlines elements different bad-leader archetypes applies just as easily to politicians. In politics, just like in business, there are Narcissists, Ditherers, Avoiders, Panderers, Faddists, Tunnelers and Fantasizers.

My personal favourite is:

Narcissists are those self-centered leaders who are intolerant of criticism and alienate followers - except for "toadies," who latch on to them and serve as a buffer against people who might challenge or criticize this leader. Perversely, narcissistic leaders often charm and fascinate boards, shareholders, customers and even journalists.

They may achieve great business results, and not just for the short-term, since those results may secure them considerable support over an extended period of time.

Yet, once they finish their runs, they usually leave little behind in the way of enduring leadership bench strength. They perform for the present but don't build for the future.

And, despite their brilliance, narcissistic leaders often preside over toxic or corrosive cultures that neither sustain results over the long run nor lead to the development of their successors.
Try this: think of a politician and decide which class he belongs to. Send me a list and I'll compile and publish the results if I get enough suggestions.

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