Managing Dominant People

Handling Strong, Challenging Personalities

Managing Dominant People - Handling Strong, Challenging Personalities

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"Big beasts" can help you deliver big results.

Do you know what characteristic links many political leaders, top business executives – and even psychopaths?

They share a trait called "fearless dominance." They are typically great crisis managers, because they remain calm under pressure and are confident taking bold action in the face of daunting risks. They can also be influential and charismatic, and effective in getting the job done.

However, the danger comes if their assertiveness crosses the line into intimidation or even bullying. Someone with a dominant character can monopolize discussions and disregard social norms, which can discourage their colleagues and lower morale.

In this article, we'll examine the characteristics and behaviors of people with dominant personalities. We'll discuss what you can do to harness their strengths and moderate their weaknesses, so they can excel as part of your team.

What Is a Dominant Personality?

According to American academics Dr Cameron Anderson and Gavin J. Kilduff, the dominant personality trait "involves the tendency to behave in assertive, forceful, and self-assured ways."

Anderson and Kilduff disagreed with a popular theory that dominant individuals use heavy-handed, aggressive tactics, such as bullying and intimidation, to get ahead. Instead, they argued that such people attained influence by demonstrating their competence and value to their teams. Their study found that dominant team members "may ascend group hierarchies by appearing helpful to the group's overall success, as opposed to by aggressively grabbing power."

Interestingly, their research also showed that some people viewed more forceful colleagues as being more competent, even if their talents didn't match their assertiveness. Those who did so equated competence with behavior such as speaking up in groups and being the first to answer questions.

How to Recognize a Dominant Personality

It's not hard to spot dominant people. Typically they will be – or want to be – in a leadership position. They may exhibit several of the following behaviors and traits:...

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