In his work as an executive coach, psychotherapist Kets de Vries sometimes comes across leaders with mental demons. The four kinds he encounters most frequently are

  • pathological narcissists, who are selfish and entitled, have grandiose fantasies, and pursue power at all costs
  • manic-depressives, who can leave a trail of emotional blazes behind them
  • passive-aggressives, who shy away from confrontation but are obstructive and under-handed;
  • the emotionally disconnected–literal-minded people who cannot describe or even recognize their feelings.

Left unchecked, these leaders can warp the interactions, plans, and systems of entire organisations. But with appropriate coaching, toxic leaders can learn to manage their conditions and become effective mentors and leaders.

This Harvard Business Review article describes how to recognize each pathology and, step by step, guide people who suffer from it toward healthier and more-productive interactions.

The private, 12-day Leadership Foundation programme provides an alternative to leaders and successful entrepreneurs trying to deal with their inner demons. Contact me if you want to learn more, or read more about leaders should pay attention to attention and why leaders who try to avoid pain cause themselves pain.