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The Pitfalls of Powerful Personalities

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From Me to We

Powerful personality types are all around us, within our families, our social circles, and our teams at work. While each of these areas is equally subject to the impact of the various personalities within them, it’s often those at work that we find the most challenging. After all, when it comes to our professional lives, forthright candor and instant reactions can sometimes be more harmful than helpful.

Our organizations, departments, perhaps even our very teams may be made up of personalities very different from our own. Some may even be prone to dominating or controlling conversation and team dynamics. Such personalities are typically exemplified by the archetypal boss in films and television. Work-focused, competitive, and controlling behaviors are all traits usually associated with powerful personalities.

While entertainment media highlights these traits as potential flaws, the reality may very well be that these individuals exude such characteristics with good intentions. In many cases, they may be trying to drive others past stagnant norms and limits. Indeed, powerful personalities have much to share and learn from, as described in this video by Psych2Go.

Those with an inclination for the big picture tend to exhibit leadership qualities. They challenge the status quo rather than adhere to it. Many people occasionally gain from this bold exploration of paths less traveled. This isn’t to say, however, that such individuals are without vulnerabilities or blind spots, as evidenced by famously powerful personalities like Steve Jobs of Apple or Travis Kalanick of Uber, both of which drove revolutionary ideas. Despite their successes, each gained a reputation absent of empathy and, in the case of the latter, even morality.

While seeing the big picture is undeniability important, seizing it may require empathy. Empathy can transform an impalpable vision into a tangible reality. Effective leadership requires a practice of “teammateship,” as discussed in this podcast with NBA alumni Shane Battier and consultant Simon Sinek. Mindfulness of how we communicate and work with others can often be the pillar upon which great visions are built, illustrated in this video of the SurePeople Relationship Advisor.

Valuing people and respecting their individual roles around us is how we can temper a fierce sense of me with an appreciation for we.

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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