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Choosing Better Leaders - Beware the Dark Triad

Posted on: 19 November 2018 at 07:54 SAST

± minute read

This was the discussion at a recent workshop presented by Dr Jopie de Beer on a visit to our regional offices in Namibia.

Perceptions that the fabric of society is collapsing are rife and some even feel that values and integrity do not exist anymore. However, much of this can be attributed to specific examples of bad leadership in the political and organisational spheres.


An interesting phenomenon in leadership and politics originates from a book by Niccolò Machiavelli that was published in 1532 titled 'The Prince'. Today his name is used to describe one of three distinct types of personalities that are jointly referred to as 'The Dark Triad’. Included in this triad are Machiavellian-, Psychopathic- and Narcissistic personality traits. These ‘dark leaders’ can be charming, persuasive, and even empathetic. Their ability to ‘read’ others is at the core of their ability to manipulate. They use the needs or weaknesses of others to their advantage; and if they can get to the ‘soft underbelly’ of friends, colleagues, or competitors it provides them with the kind of power they enjoy. Acting with seeming morality is only important if it serves the ultimate purpose of impressing or manipulating others.


The damage created by a dark leader can be significant - particularly if the behaviour is allowed to play out without challenge or consequence. Knowing how to identify and deal with this phenomenon constructively, is a key component in any talent management strategy. Attending delegates represented companies including: Bank Windhoek, Capricorn Group, Pupkewitz Holdings, Faith Reformed Baptist Church, Okahandja Medical Centre, NamibMills, PWC, Ministry of Health, APS (African Personel Services), and the Ministry of Labour.

Some topics of discussion included: Competent leadership Characteristics of corrupt leaders Ten deadly traps in the recruitment of leaders Six core principles of leadership Derailers and their impact.

Comments from the delegates: 'Well  received. You will see me again.' 'We really enjoyed the presentation – it was very insightful!' 'It was an eye opening and knowledge gaining training. I personally learned new skills and will practice it in my field of being a leader.'

If you are looking for assistance with leadership selection and development (or dark leadership) in your organisation, please contact us on 011 781 3705, or email info@jvrafrica.co.za

For more information, please contact us on +27(0) 11 781 3705/6/7 or send an email to

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