Big Ideas

20 Years on the Dark Side

In 2001 Drs. Robert and Joyce Hogan introduced the dark side of personality as a way to understand ineffective leadership and incompetent management. Beyond merely introducing the concept, they also built the ability to assess it with the Hogan Development Survey. As a result, this powerful idea has captured the imagination of executives, talent professionals, coaches, and those who study leadership.

Twenty years of research and practice on the dark side and its disruptive impact have revealed six key lessons about bad leadership and incompetent management: 

  1. There is a dark side to every personality. It consists of counterproductive tendencies that emerge when we are stressed, distracted, or simply unconcerned about the impression we are making.
  2. It is important to distinguish between identity, how we see ourselves, and reputation, how others see us. The dark side is more apparent from the outside-in.
  3. A leader’s effectiveness is best measured by the performance of the team and organization, not how high they rise in the hierarchy.
  4. Charisma isn’t all it is cracked up to be. It has a dark side, too. Boards and compensation committees place great faith in charismatic leaders, but the data show mixed results—and often undesirable results—in terms of organizational performance.
  5. A surprisingly high number of leaders are AWOL. They don’t work closely with their teams, resolve conflicts and bottlenecks, develop their people, or hold them accountable.
  6. Winning the struggle to get to the top of the organization can result in losing the struggle to stay on top of the competition. 

In a recent article, Rob joined Bob Hogan, Ryne Sherman, and Peter Harms to explain the origins of the dark side and unpack these six lessons. You can read the full article, “20 Years on the Dark Side,” in Consulting Psychology Journal. (It resides behind a paywall and requires a subscription to access. You may request a copy for educational purposes, via email here.)


20 Years on the Dark Side - CPJ

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