Dark side characteristics are found in almost everybody’s make up. Anyone working with executives will be aware of how a tough focus can lead to unhelpful behavioural features that strains relationships.
There are, of course, steps that leaders can take to minimise the risks resulting from the dark side of leadership. Ashridge’s latest research, The Leadership Shadow, co-authored by Anthony Kasozi and myself, shows that the shadow side and the bright side of a leader’s personality are intimately connected, but can drift apart upon taking up a pressurised leadership role. These leadership shadows or ‘gremlins’ have the potential to send what’s best about an executive’s leadership over to the dark side.