At Potential Squared, we are looking ahead to the rest of 2016 with one of the core models we base our work on. Already, we have moved into this year with conviction, confidence, and connection – and we intend to keep this momentum. To do this successfully, we know it is important to look at all facets of leadership.

Leadership has its heroes and success stories - it’s important we celebrate those. But there is also a dark side. The dark side of leadership, or the heroic mode as described by Kantor, is in all of us and it’s something we all need to be aware of. That’s why we believe it is important to shine a light on familiar behaviour and recognise that it is natural to slip into certain habits. There are three main faces or sides to the dark side of leadership, and they are ones we should try to avoid.

The dark side of leadership, or the heroic mode as described by Kantor, is in all of us and it’s something we all need to be aware of. That’s why we believe it is important to shine a light on familiar behaviour and recognise that it is natural to slip into certain habits.

The Victim (or Survivor)

This is the mindset we take as leaders when we don’t take responsibility for what is happening around us. It’s the idea that we can’t do anything in a particular situation. This is where confidence needs to come in. For example, even if we can’t find a solution, or don’t believe that we can, that’s not enough. We have to have an eye on the way the future will look, and we need to have a purpose. This purpose gives leaders the confidence they need to take control of what lies ahead, no matter how challenging.

The Fixer

If you are a Fixer, you will measure your leadership capability and quality by your ability to fix other people’s problems. But leaders should be role models, not owners of others problems. Strong leaders create the conditions for others solve their own problems. This requires both conviction and connection. To allow others to take accountability is an empowering position. But, as leaders, the Fixer is something we can all fall into.

The Protector

The final part of the dark side of leadership is the Protector. It can be very tempting to shield others from making mistakes. But if we always do that, we rob them of their opportunity to learn. The guiding principle behind some instances might be damage limitation, but allowing people to make mistakes can free them. It gives them the ability to analyse what went wrong, rectify their mistakes, and learn to deal with future challenges. The Protector may be well-meaning, but remains a powerful part of the dark side of leadership. Avoiding this often irresistible tendency requires confidence, conviction and connection.

At Potential Squared, 2016 is about more than believing in the three c’s, it is about living them. With full awareness of the types of leaders we want to be, and by remaining on the lookout for the faces of leadership we wish to avoid, we know that 2016 is going to be a powerful year.

Are you a Potential Squared associate? Get in touch to gain access to Colin Hunter’s podcast about The Dark Side of Leadership.