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Seth M. Spain, Ph.D. 
School of Management & Center for Leadership Studies, 
Binghamton University 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
- 
Presented to the 
Binghamton University First Year Experience
Seth M. Spain, Ph.D. 
School of Management & Center for Leadership Studies, 
Binghamton University 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
- 
Presented to the 
Binghamton University First Year Experience
Objectives 
 
 Introduce the concept of personality characteristics 
 Orient you to the so-called “dark side” of personality 
 Provide guidance on the interpersonal perspective 
on psychology 
 Orient important dark side characteristics in it 
 Orient “good” leadership in it 
 Provide perspective on failures of leadership 
 Effective vs. successful leaders 
 Why do managers derail?




What do I mean, “Dark Side”? 
 
 Personality traits characterize a person’s typical 
interpersonal style 
 Typical ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving 
 Relatively enduring over time, vis à vis states 
 “Bright Side” or Normal-range personality 
 “Paddle your CANOE in the OCEAN” 
 Dark Side or subclinical personality 
 Not necessarily dysfunctional (for everyday life) 
 “Dark triad” and DSM-IV
Why should you (or anyone) 
care? 
 
 Normal-range personality can predict behavior-at-work 
 Job performance 
 Citizenship behaviors 
 Counterproductive behaviors 
 Leadership 
 Abusive supervision 
 Managerial derailment 
 The Dark Side seems to be much, much more powerful 
 Twice as potent, even after accounting for normal-range 
(Harms, Spain, Hannah, & Hogan, 2011)
Axis II – Hogan Development 
Survey – Dark Triad 
 
Subclinical Trait DSM-IV Construct Dark Triad Construct 
Excitable Borderline 
Skeptical Paranoid Machiavellianism? 
Cautious Avoidant 
Reserved Schizoid 
Leisurely Passive-Aggressive 
Bold Narcissistic Narcissism 
Mischievous Antisocial Psychopathy 
Colorful Histrionic 
Imaginative Schizotypal 
Diligent Obsessive-Compulsive 
Dutiful Dependent 
Table from Spain, Harms, & 
LeBreton (2014), modified from 
Harms, Spain, & Hannah, (2011)
Axis II – Hogan Development 
Survey – Dark Triad 
 
Subclinical Trait DSM-IV Construct Dark Triad Construct 
Excitable Borderline 
Skeptical Paranoid Machiavellianism? 
Cautious Avoidant 
Reserved Schizoid 
Leisurely Passive-Aggressive 
Bold Narcissistic Narcissism 
Mischievous Antisocial Psychopathy 
Colorful Histrionic 
Imaginative Schizotypal 
Diligent Obsessive-Compulsive 
Dutiful Dependent 
Table from Spain, Harms, & 
LeBreton (2014), modified from 
Harms, Spain, & Hannah, (2011)
Axis II – Hogan Development 
Survey – Dark Triad 
 
Subclinical Trait DSM-IV Construct Dark Triad Construct 
Excitable Borderline 
Skeptical Paranoid Machiavellianism? 
Cautious Avoidant 
Reserved Schizoid 
Leisurely Passive-Aggressive 
Bold Narcissistic Narcissism 
Mischievous Antisocial Psychopathy 
Colorful Histrionic 
Imaginative Schizotypal 
Diligent Obsessive-Compulsive 
Dutiful Dependent 
Table from Spain, Harms, & 
LeBreton (2014), modified from 
Harms, Spain, & Hannah, (2011)
Interpersonal Circle 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance
Interpersonal Circle: 
Dark Triad 
 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance
Interpersonal Circle: 
Good leadership? 
 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance
Effective vs. Successful 
 
 Leaders can be either “effective” or “successful” 
 Ensure tasks get done 
 Get ahead 
 Only a handful are both
Effective vs. Successful 
 
 Leaders can be either “effective” or “successful” 
 Ensure tasks get done (beat competition) 
 Get ahead (get promoted) 
 Only a handful are both (10%) 
 Effective leaders 
 Communicate 
 Manage their teams
Effective vs. Successful 
 
 Leaders can be either “effective” or “successful” 
 Ensure tasks get done (beat competition) 
 Get ahead (get promoted) 
 Only a handful are both (10%) 
 Effective leaders 
 Communicate 
 Manage their teams 
 Successful leaders 
 Network 
 Engage in office politics




Destructive Leadership 
 
 Rates of managerial incompetence are HIGH (maybe 
as high as 70%, according to Bob Hogan) 
 That is just ineffective leadership 
 Here, we’re concerned with leaders who are 
basically evil 
 Intent-to-harm (Krasikova, Green, & LeBreton, 2014) 
 Tend to impute hostile motives to others 
 More machiavellian 
 Trait aggressiveness 
 Skeptical/Paranoid
Interpersonal Circle: 
Dark Triad Reminder 
 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance
 
 Narcissists may be more motivated to work hard to 
become leaders 
 Want to “be the best” at what they do 
 May be domineering and competitive with 
subordinates and peers, though 
 Narcissists can be good at selling ideas 
 May “poison” the well in long-term relationships, 
though 
Narcissism
 
 Narcissists may be more motivated to work hard to 
become leaders 
 May be domineering and competitive with 
subordinates, though 
 Narcissists can be good at selling ideas 
 May “poison” the well in long-term relationships, 
though 
Narcissism
 
 Narcissists may be more motivated to work hard to 
become leaders 
 May be domineering and competitive with 
subordinates, though 
 Narcissists can be good at selling ideas 
 May “poison” the well in long-term relationships, 
though 
Narcissism
Interpersonal Circle 
 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance 
Narcissist!
Machiavellianism 
 
 Manipulators 
 Liars 
 Good at forming alliances 
 Use lots of social influence tactics (“Protean”) 
 Engage in office politics 
 Willing to use threats, intimidation 
 Willing to beg and compromise 
 “Do what needs to be done”
Machiavellianism 
 
 Manipulators 
 Liars 
 Good at forming alliances 
 Use lots of social influence tactics (“Protean”)
Machiavellianism 
 
 Manipulators 
 Liars 
 Good at forming alliances 
 Use lots of social influence tactics (“Protean”)
Psychopathy 
 
 Not prone to feeling guilt or shame 
 Less anxiety than others 
 Impulsive 
 Willing to harm others to succeed
Psychopathy 
 
 Not prone to feeling guilt or shame 
 Less anxiety than others 
 Impulsive 
 Willing to harm others to succeed
Interpersonal Circle 
 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance 
Psychopath!
Bond, James Bond 
 
 The Dark Triad 
 Narcissism 
 Machiavellianism 
 Psychopathy 
 Powerfully agentic
Bond, James Bond 
 
 The Dark Triad 
 Narcissism 
 Machiavellianism 
 Psychopathy 
 Powerfully agentic 
 Puts self ahead of 
others 
 “Not a team player”
Bond, James Bond 
 
 The Dark Triad 
 Narcissism 
 Machiavellianism 
 Psychopathy 
 Powerfully agentic 
 Puts self ahead of 
others 
 “Not a team player”
Skeptical 
 
 Euphemism for “paranoid” 
 Described as “having a chip on [their] shoulders” 
 Suspicious 
 People high in skepticism look for—and find!— 
ulterior motives in interpersonal interactions 
 Bad for development 
 Bad for team-work
Skeptical 
 
 Euphemism for “paranoid” 
 Described as “having a chip on [their] shoulders” 
 Suspicious 
 People high in skepticism look for—and find!— 
ulterior motives in interpersonal interactions 
 Bad for development 
 Bad for team-work
Interpersonal Circle 
 
Communion/ 
Nurturance 
Dominance 
Paranoid!
Managerial derailment 
 
Time 
Occupational Level
Managerial derailment 
 
Time 
Occupational Level 
Axed!
Managerial derailment 
 
Time 
Occupational Level 
Axed!
Major causes? 
 
 Problems with interpersonal relationships 
 Insensitive 
 Demanding 
 Manipulative 
 Authoritarian 
 Aloof 
 Critical 
 Overly cautious 
 Arrogant 
 Volatile 
 Perfectionistic 
 Too eager to please
Major causes? 
 
 Problems with interpersonal relationships 
 Insensitive—paranoid , psychopathic 
 Demanding – psychopathic, narcissistic 
 Manipulative—Machiavellian 
 Authoritarian—narcissistic, psychopathic, Machiavellian 
 Aloof -- Schizoid 
 Critical – paranoid, 
 Overly cautious – Passive-aggressive, Avoidant 
 Arrogant – Narcissistic!!! 
 Volatile – Histrionic, Borderline 
 Perfectionistic – Obsessive Compulsive 
 Too eager to please -- Dependent
 
 To you! 
Thanks!
Thanks! 
 
 To you! 
 To my six-month old, identical twin daughters, for 
sleeping enough to let me do this!
Follow 
 
 @SethMSpain on Twitter 
 Sethspain.wordpress.com 
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-dark-side-work

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Dark Side of Personality and Leadership (FYE)

  • 1. Seth M. Spain, Ph.D. School of Management & Center for Leadership Studies, Binghamton University ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - Presented to the Binghamton University First Year Experience
  • 2. Seth M. Spain, Ph.D. School of Management & Center for Leadership Studies, Binghamton University ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - Presented to the Binghamton University First Year Experience
  • 3. Objectives   Introduce the concept of personality characteristics  Orient you to the so-called “dark side” of personality  Provide guidance on the interpersonal perspective on psychology  Orient important dark side characteristics in it  Orient “good” leadership in it  Provide perspective on failures of leadership  Effective vs. successful leaders  Why do managers derail?
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8. What do I mean, “Dark Side”?   Personality traits characterize a person’s typical interpersonal style  Typical ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving  Relatively enduring over time, vis à vis states  “Bright Side” or Normal-range personality  “Paddle your CANOE in the OCEAN”  Dark Side or subclinical personality  Not necessarily dysfunctional (for everyday life)  “Dark triad” and DSM-IV
  • 9. Why should you (or anyone) care?   Normal-range personality can predict behavior-at-work  Job performance  Citizenship behaviors  Counterproductive behaviors  Leadership  Abusive supervision  Managerial derailment  The Dark Side seems to be much, much more powerful  Twice as potent, even after accounting for normal-range (Harms, Spain, Hannah, & Hogan, 2011)
  • 10. Axis II – Hogan Development Survey – Dark Triad  Subclinical Trait DSM-IV Construct Dark Triad Construct Excitable Borderline Skeptical Paranoid Machiavellianism? Cautious Avoidant Reserved Schizoid Leisurely Passive-Aggressive Bold Narcissistic Narcissism Mischievous Antisocial Psychopathy Colorful Histrionic Imaginative Schizotypal Diligent Obsessive-Compulsive Dutiful Dependent Table from Spain, Harms, & LeBreton (2014), modified from Harms, Spain, & Hannah, (2011)
  • 11. Axis II – Hogan Development Survey – Dark Triad  Subclinical Trait DSM-IV Construct Dark Triad Construct Excitable Borderline Skeptical Paranoid Machiavellianism? Cautious Avoidant Reserved Schizoid Leisurely Passive-Aggressive Bold Narcissistic Narcissism Mischievous Antisocial Psychopathy Colorful Histrionic Imaginative Schizotypal Diligent Obsessive-Compulsive Dutiful Dependent Table from Spain, Harms, & LeBreton (2014), modified from Harms, Spain, & Hannah, (2011)
  • 12. Axis II – Hogan Development Survey – Dark Triad  Subclinical Trait DSM-IV Construct Dark Triad Construct Excitable Borderline Skeptical Paranoid Machiavellianism? Cautious Avoidant Reserved Schizoid Leisurely Passive-Aggressive Bold Narcissistic Narcissism Mischievous Antisocial Psychopathy Colorful Histrionic Imaginative Schizotypal Diligent Obsessive-Compulsive Dutiful Dependent Table from Spain, Harms, & LeBreton (2014), modified from Harms, Spain, & Hannah, (2011)
  • 13. Interpersonal Circle Communion/ Nurturance Dominance
  • 14. Interpersonal Circle: Dark Triad  Communion/ Nurturance Dominance
  • 15. Interpersonal Circle: Good leadership?  Communion/ Nurturance Dominance
  • 16. Effective vs. Successful   Leaders can be either “effective” or “successful”  Ensure tasks get done  Get ahead  Only a handful are both
  • 17. Effective vs. Successful   Leaders can be either “effective” or “successful”  Ensure tasks get done (beat competition)  Get ahead (get promoted)  Only a handful are both (10%)  Effective leaders  Communicate  Manage their teams
  • 18. Effective vs. Successful   Leaders can be either “effective” or “successful”  Ensure tasks get done (beat competition)  Get ahead (get promoted)  Only a handful are both (10%)  Effective leaders  Communicate  Manage their teams  Successful leaders  Network  Engage in office politics
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23. Destructive Leadership   Rates of managerial incompetence are HIGH (maybe as high as 70%, according to Bob Hogan)  That is just ineffective leadership  Here, we’re concerned with leaders who are basically evil  Intent-to-harm (Krasikova, Green, & LeBreton, 2014)  Tend to impute hostile motives to others  More machiavellian  Trait aggressiveness  Skeptical/Paranoid
  • 24. Interpersonal Circle: Dark Triad Reminder  Communion/ Nurturance Dominance
  • 25.   Narcissists may be more motivated to work hard to become leaders  Want to “be the best” at what they do  May be domineering and competitive with subordinates and peers, though  Narcissists can be good at selling ideas  May “poison” the well in long-term relationships, though Narcissism
  • 26.   Narcissists may be more motivated to work hard to become leaders  May be domineering and competitive with subordinates, though  Narcissists can be good at selling ideas  May “poison” the well in long-term relationships, though Narcissism
  • 27.   Narcissists may be more motivated to work hard to become leaders  May be domineering and competitive with subordinates, though  Narcissists can be good at selling ideas  May “poison” the well in long-term relationships, though Narcissism
  • 28. Interpersonal Circle  Communion/ Nurturance Dominance Narcissist!
  • 29. Machiavellianism   Manipulators  Liars  Good at forming alliances  Use lots of social influence tactics (“Protean”)  Engage in office politics  Willing to use threats, intimidation  Willing to beg and compromise  “Do what needs to be done”
  • 30. Machiavellianism   Manipulators  Liars  Good at forming alliances  Use lots of social influence tactics (“Protean”)
  • 31. Machiavellianism   Manipulators  Liars  Good at forming alliances  Use lots of social influence tactics (“Protean”)
  • 32. Psychopathy   Not prone to feeling guilt or shame  Less anxiety than others  Impulsive  Willing to harm others to succeed
  • 33. Psychopathy   Not prone to feeling guilt or shame  Less anxiety than others  Impulsive  Willing to harm others to succeed
  • 34. Interpersonal Circle  Communion/ Nurturance Dominance Psychopath!
  • 35. Bond, James Bond   The Dark Triad  Narcissism  Machiavellianism  Psychopathy  Powerfully agentic
  • 36. Bond, James Bond   The Dark Triad  Narcissism  Machiavellianism  Psychopathy  Powerfully agentic  Puts self ahead of others  “Not a team player”
  • 37. Bond, James Bond   The Dark Triad  Narcissism  Machiavellianism  Psychopathy  Powerfully agentic  Puts self ahead of others  “Not a team player”
  • 38. Skeptical   Euphemism for “paranoid”  Described as “having a chip on [their] shoulders”  Suspicious  People high in skepticism look for—and find!— ulterior motives in interpersonal interactions  Bad for development  Bad for team-work
  • 39. Skeptical   Euphemism for “paranoid”  Described as “having a chip on [their] shoulders”  Suspicious  People high in skepticism look for—and find!— ulterior motives in interpersonal interactions  Bad for development  Bad for team-work
  • 40. Interpersonal Circle  Communion/ Nurturance Dominance Paranoid!
  • 41. Managerial derailment  Time Occupational Level
  • 42. Managerial derailment  Time Occupational Level Axed!
  • 43. Managerial derailment  Time Occupational Level Axed!
  • 44. Major causes?   Problems with interpersonal relationships  Insensitive  Demanding  Manipulative  Authoritarian  Aloof  Critical  Overly cautious  Arrogant  Volatile  Perfectionistic  Too eager to please
  • 45. Major causes?   Problems with interpersonal relationships  Insensitive—paranoid , psychopathic  Demanding – psychopathic, narcissistic  Manipulative—Machiavellian  Authoritarian—narcissistic, psychopathic, Machiavellian  Aloof -- Schizoid  Critical – paranoid,  Overly cautious – Passive-aggressive, Avoidant  Arrogant – Narcissistic!!!  Volatile – Histrionic, Borderline  Perfectionistic – Obsessive Compulsive  Too eager to please -- Dependent
  • 46.   To you! Thanks!
  • 47. Thanks!   To you!  To my six-month old, identical twin daughters, for sleeping enough to let me do this!
  • 48. Follow   @SethMSpain on Twitter  Sethspain.wordpress.com www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-dark-side-work

Editor's Notes

  1. I’ll be using a lot of pop culture illustrations…so…
  2. 1. They tend to exploit and trick others for self-advancement. 2. They have used lies and deception to get their way. 3. They have used ingratiation to get their way. 4. They tend to manipulate others for selfish reasons. 5. They tend not to feel regretful and apologetic after having done wrong. 6. They tend not to worry about whether their behaviour is ethical. 7. They tend to be lacking in empathy and crassly unaware of the distress they can cause others. 8. They tend to take a pretty dim view of humanity, attributing nasty motives and selfishness. 9. They tend to be hungry for admiration. 10. They tend to want to be the centre of attention. 11. They tend to aim for higher status and signs of their importance. 12. They tend to take it for granted that other people will make extra efforts to help them. * Courtesy of Office Politics by Oliver James (Vermillion)  
  3. Initiate Structure :: Dominance (set agendas, goals, deadlines, check progress, off criticism, task-related guidance) Show consideration :: Nurturance (interpersonal/personal guidance, trust, rapport)
  4. Effective leaders get work done…spend a lot of time communicating with their staff, in meetings, etc. Successful leaders get promoted…spend most of their time networking
  5. Effective leaders get work done…spend a lot of time communicating with their staff, in meetings, etc. Successful leaders get promoted…spend most of their time networking
  6. Effective leaders get work done…spend a lot of time communicating with their staff, in meetings, etc. Successful leaders get promoted…spend most of their time networking
  7. Napoleon – poor student, but a voracious reader of military history and tactics
  8. Napoleon’s coronation – he’s said to have taken the crown from the Pope and crowned himself emperor of France.
  9. Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Said to be an example of the “Victory disease”—don’t let early successes go to your head; confidence is good, hubris will destroy you.
  10. Honestly, Putin might not be a Machiavellian, but he was in the KGB, for lands’ sake. Also…that picture is a narcissist if I’ve ever seen one!
  11. Frank Underwood’s first monologue in the premiere episode of House of Cards sums this up well: “Moments like this require someone like me. Someone who will act. Who will do what no one else has the courage to do. Someone who will do the unpleasant thing. The necessary thing.” In business, the psychopath’s comparative lack of feelings of remorse could make it easier to fire people during downsizing, or even just for thrills, as Jack Donaghy memorably demonstrated on 30 Rock: Jack: “Fire her. And don’t ever make me talk to a woman that old again.” Liz: “I can’t fire Rosemary!” Jack: “Sure you can. It’s easy. Observe. Jonathan, you’re fired.” Jack Donaghy clearly has no remorse when it comes to firing people.
  12. Frank Underwood’s first monologue in the premiere episode of House of Cards sums this up well: “Moments like this require someone like me. Someone who will act. Who will do what no one else has the courage to do. Someone who will do the unpleasant thing. The necessary thing.” In business, the psychopath’s comparative lack of feelings of remorse could make it easier to fire people during downsizing, or even just for thrills, as Jack Donaghy memorably demonstrated on 30 Rock: Jack: “Fire her. And don’t ever make me talk to a woman that old again.” Liz: “I can’t fire Rosemary!” Jack: “Sure you can. It’s easy. Observe. Jonathan, you’re fired.” Jack Donaghy clearly has no remorse when it comes to firing people.
  13. High dominance, low nurturance (agency, communion)
  14. “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms: greed for life, for money, for love; knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.” - Gordon Gekko
  15. Photo redacted!!