Q1.  To what extent do some dark leadership characteristics help leaders be effective?

Dark leadership characteristics can, to a certain extent, assist leaders in being effective in specific situations or contexts (Smith & Webster, 2017). Certain dark traits, such as Machiavellianism, narcissism, and assertiveness, may equip leaders to make swift decisions, navigate complex power dynamics, and exert influence (Jonason et al., 2012). These attributes can contribute to a leader's perceived effectiveness, especially in highly competitive or high-pressure environments (Grijalva et al., 2015).

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that relying on dark leadership characteristics often negatively repercussions an organisation's long-term health, employee well-being, and overall performance (Krasikova et al., 2013). Although these traits may result in short-term gains, they can also cause diminished employee morale, increased turnover rates, and decreased trust among team members (Mawritz et al., 2012).

While some dark leadership traits might contribute to a leader's effectiveness in particular situations, their long-term impact on an organisation and its employees is more likely to be adverse (Thoroughgood et al., 2012). Consequently, leaders must develop more positive and inclusive leadership styles that foster sustainable success and prioritise employee well-being (Wang et al., 2014).

References _____________________________________

  • Grijalva, E., Harms, P.D., Newman, D.A., Gaddis, B.H., & Fraley, R.C. (2015). Narcissism and leadership: A meta-analytic review of linear and nonlinear relationships. Personnel Psychology, 68(1), 1-47. https://doi.org/10.1111/peps.12072
  • Jonason, P.K., Slomski, S., & Partyka, J. (2012). The dark triad at work: How toxic employees get their way. Personality & Individual Differences, 52(3), 449-453. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.11.008
  • Krasikova, D.V., Green, S.G., & LeBreton, J.M. (2013). Destructive leadership: A theoretical review, integration, and future research agenda. Journal of Management, 39(5), 1308-1338. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206312471388
  • Mawritz, M.B., Mayer, D.M., Hoobler, J.M., Wayne, S.J., & Marinova, S.V. (2012). A trickle-down model of abusive supervision. Personnel Psychology, 65(2), 325-357. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2012.01246.x
  • Smith, M.B., & Webster, B.D. (2017). A moderated mediation model of Machiavellianism, social undermining, political skill, and supervisor-rated job performance. Personality & Individual Differences, 104, 453-459. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.09.010
  • Thoroughgood, C.N., Tate, B.W., Sawyer, K.B., & Jacobs, R. (2012). Bad to the bone: Empirically defining and measuring destructive leader behaviour. Journal of Leadership & Organisational Studies, 19(2), 230-255. https://doi.org/10.1177/1548051811436327
  • Wang, H., Sui, Y., Luthans, F., Wang, D., & Wu, Y. (2014). Impact of authentic leadership on performance: Role of followers' positive psychological capital and relational processes. Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 35(1), 5-21. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.1850

Q2.  What is the role of context and followers in leaders becoming destructive?

The role of context and followers is vital in the emergence of destructive leadership, as both elements can either contribute to or help alleviate the manifestation of such negative behaviours (Padilla et al., 2007). Context encompasses situational factors, including organisational culture, structure, and external pressures, which can significantly influence a leader's actions (Hannah et al., 2009). Leaders may be more susceptible to adopting destructive behaviours in scenarios characterised by a lack of accountability, heightened stress, or an environment that rewards aggressive and manipulative conduct (Krasikova et al., 2013).

Relatedly, followers substantially impact reinforcing or challenging destructive leadership (Thoroughgood et al., 2012). When followers passively accept or actively endorse such negative behaviours, they inadvertently enable and encourage leaders to persist on this detrimental path (Uhl-Bien et al., 2014). In contrast, when followers question and oppose destructive actions, they can inspire leaders to reassess their behaviour and potentially adopt more constructive leadership styles (Oc, 2018).

Context and followers are critical factors in developing destructive leadership, as they can either facilitate or mitigate the evolution of harmful behaviours (Einarsen et al., 2007). Understanding the role of these components can assist organisations in identifying and addressing potential risks associated with destructive leadership, ultimately fostering more effective and positive leadership practices (Schyns & Schilling, 2013).

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