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Leadership enhancing the lessons of experience 8th by hughes curphy chap 15

Copyright © 2015 McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. No reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of McGraw-Hill Education.

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Chapter

15

The Dark Side of
Leadership

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"If you put on a blindfold and threw a
dart at a map of the world, then there
is a 70 chance% that whatever
country the dart lands on is run by
some form of dictatorship.”
RT Hogan,

Hogan Assessment Systems

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Introduction
Destructive leadership is associated with
individuals who are effective at building teams and
getting results through others, but who obtain
results that are morally or ethically challenged.
Managerial incompetence concerns a person’s
inability to build teams or get results through
others.
Managerial derailment describes the common
reasons why people in positions of authority have
difficulties building teams or getting results
through others.
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Destructive Leadership
• Effective leaders make their organizations or
societies better places to work or live.
• Destructive leadership occurs in many settings
and at all organizational levels.
• Destructive leadership occurs when people in
positions of authority use their team-building
skills to achieve greedy, selfish, or immoral
results.
• What is considered destructive or effective
leadership may be in the eye of the beholder.

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Managerial Incompetence
• Incompetent managers have difficulties building
loyal followings or getting anything done.
• The base rate of managerial incompetence
may be 50-75% as illustrated by these facts.


1. Most countries are run by some form of dictatorship.
2. Many leaders of democratic countries are perceived as
being unable to build teams or get results.
3. Surveys show that over 75% of employees feel that
their immediate boss is the most stressful part of their
job.
4. Over 70% of M&A fail to yield projected improvements
in profitability and synergies
5. Research shows that 50-90% of all new businesses
fail within 5 years, which is mainly attributed to
managerial incompetence.

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Managerial Incompetence (continued)
• Competent managers are good at building
teams and getting results through others.
• Taskmasters are good at achieving results, but
they tend to treat followers so poorly that results
are usually short-lived.
• Cheerleaders are people in positions of
authority who are people-centered and make a
point of getting along with everyone.
• Figureheads may not be complete failures at
building teams and getting results, but they
could be a lot better at both endeavors.
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Two Dimensions of Managerial Incompetence

Figure 15.1: The Two Dimensions of Managerial Incompetence
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Managerial Derailment
Managerial derailment research identified five
derailment patterns:
1.Failure to meet business objectives
2.An inability to build and lead a team
3.An inability to build relationships with coworkers
4.An inability to adapt to new bosses,
businesses, cultures, or structures
5.Inadequate preparation for promotion

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Managerial Derailment (continued)
• The presence of only one behavioral pattern is
usually not enough for derailment, except for
the failure to meet business objectives.
• The five reasons for failure are universal.
• Awareness of why people fail in leadership
positions is not enough to prevent the failure.
• Managerial incompetence and derailment have
underlying root causes, and knowing what they
are and what to do to minimize their impact will
improve the odds of being perceived as a
competent manager.

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Six Root Causes of Managerial Incompetence
and Derailment

Figure 15.2: The Root Causes of Managerial Derailment and the Leader–Follower– Situation Model

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Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)

Table15.2: Bad Leadership, Managerial Incompetence, Managerial Derailment, and Root Causes

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Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)
1.
2.
3.
4.

Situational and follower factors
The lack of organizational fit
A lack of situational and self-awareness
A lack of intelligence, subject matter expertise,
and team-building know-how
5. Poor followership
6. Dark-side personality traits

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Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)
• Situational and follower factors that can interfere
with a person’s ability to be seen as a competent
manager include:
– New competitive threats, globalization, technology,
changing customer preferences, unreliable suppliers,
new government regulations, unfavorable media
coverage, natural disasters, and wars.
– Mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, bankruptcies, new
strategies, reorganizations, and incidents of workplace
violence or environmental disasters.
– New bosses, peers, direct reports; disengaged or
disgruntled employees; disruptive worker cliques; and
strikes or dysfunctional turnover.
– New jobs, responsibilities, or projects.
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Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)
• Managers can control their reactions to
overwhelming situational/follower factors.
• Episodic versus chronic incompetence:
– Episodic managerial incompetence is when people in
positions of authority face extremely tough situational or
follower events that temporarily interfere with their
ability to build teams and get results.
– Chronic managerial incompetence is when taxing
situational or follower events permanently disrupt a
person’s ability to build teams or get results.

• All competent managers experience occasional
episodic managerial incompetence; the trick is to
limit the frequency/duration of these occurrences.
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Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)
• Organizational fit is the degree of agreement
between personal and organizational values and
beliefs.
• Situational awareness refers to a leader’s ability
to identify factors affecting their teams and remain
vigilant for changes. People in authority positions
need a high degree of situational awareness to be
seen as competent.
• Self-awareness refers to being aware of personal
strengths and shortcomings. Leaders often find
ways to either manage or staff around their
personal knowledge and skill gaps.
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The Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)
• Subject matter expertise is the relevant
knowledge or experience that can be leveraged
to solve problems.
• Team-building know-how is the degree to
which a leader knows the steps and processes
needed to build high-performing teams.
• Poor followership is a lack of good
followership skills. People in authority positions
who are criticizers, brown-nosers, and slackers
are likely to be seen as incompetent managers.

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Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment (continued)
Dark-side personality traits are irritating,
counterproductive behavioral tendencies.
1.They interfere with a leader’s ability to build cohesive
teams, cause followers to exert less effort toward goal
accomplishment, and when exhibited regularly, decrease a
leader’s ability to get results through others.
2.Everyone has at least one trait, which usually appears
during crises and when a leader is unconcerned about
appearances.
3.They have a bigger influence on the performance of
leaders than followers.
4.Many resemble social skills and are hard to detect.
5.They may be the leading cause of managerial
incompetence.

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Dark-Side Personality Traits

Table15.3: Dark-Side Personality Traits Source: Hogan Assessment Systems, The Hogan Development Survey (Tulsa, OK: 2002).
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Summary
• There are many ways for people in positions of
authority to fail, and unfortunately most people
are not particularly effective leaders.
• Some root causes for managerial
incompetence and derailment include:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Overwhelming situational and follower factors
A lack of organizational fit
A lack of situational and self-awareness
A lack of intelligence, relevant subject-matter
expertise, and team-building know-how
5. Poor followership
6. Dark-side personality traits

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