Our character is a patchwork of strengths and weaknesses. But we have to note, that each strength is a weakness, if it is extreme. It can also resemble the most common personality disorders.
Twenty years ago the psychologists Robert and Joyce Hogan created an inventory of these traits, which when taken to extreme become “dark side” traits.
Distancing characteristics, that push other people away:
Cautious is the person, that can be careful and precise. But when this trait is strong, then the person can become indecisive and risk averse.
Excitable is synonymous to passion and enthusiasm, which are very strong characteristics. But it can also cause outbursts and volatility, when there is no moderation.
Leisurely persons seem relaxed and easy going. But they can also be Passive-aggressive resisting cooperation or even engaging in backstabbing.
Reserved people are stoic and calm under pressure. They seem cooperative and sensitive. But when the trait is strong, then they can be uncommunicative and insensitive.
Skeptical persons are hard to be fooled. But at the same time, they can be mistrustful and quarrelsome. They have a cynical outlook, which makes it hard to build trust.
Traits with seductive qualities to pull people in:
Bold persons are assertive, filled with confidence. But on the other hand, they can be arrogant and grandiose.
Colorful which means entertaining and expressive. The “joy of life”. But they can also be socially obtuse.
Imaginative people are creative and visionary. They can also have wacky ideas and they are constantly changing.
Mischievous persons are definitely risk tolerant and that is why they are charming and persuasive. But they can also be impulsive and manipulative.
Ingratiating traits for the followers, but not for the leaders:
Diligent persons are hardworking and have high standards. But when a diligent person is a leader, then is a perfectionist and a micromanager.
Dutiful people are loyal and compliant, to please those in authority. But they can easily become submissive and acquiescent.
Managing the dark side
How can we manage our dark side? Self-awareness is the key! First of all, we have to accept ourselves. After that, we can manage our strengths and our weaknesses. In order to have self-awareness, we have to collect information from others about us. Using psychometric testing tools which are verified and validated is a career tool that helps us manage our behavior.
To develop our leadership skills, we need to accept and understand our personality traits and preferences. In that manner we will easily translate the behavioral patterns of others and we will be more efficient in driving human behavior in the team.
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