Leadership Series: The characteristics of unethical leadership


The Fall 2018 Leadership series occurs every Tuesday in Evans Commons 3020 at 4 p.m.
Graphic by Andria Graeler
Photo by Rolando Dupuy


Management professor Bob Cote presented research he has done on the traits of selfish and destructive leaders as part of the Spring Leadership Series on Tuesday.
“A Toxic Workplace: The Ultimate Result of Dark Side Leadership” was held at 4 p.m. in Harmon 131.  
  • Dark side leadership is common among perpetrators of corporate scandals and is often detrimental for companies. 
  • Its characteristic traits are narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, known as the “Dark Triad.” Cote said narcissism in leaders can inspire confidence in the short term, but will be detrimental in the long term.  He said Machiavellianism is characterized by manipulation, which dark side leaders use for unethical ends, and psychopaths have a lack of concern for others.  
  • Cote also dark side leaders lack the skills to provide direction to and work with their employees. “All of these different aspects just affect the company overall,” he said. They manipulate their employees, not to help them work better, but for selfish reasons. Cote said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is an example of a dark side leader because he pits his employees against each other and has a “battlefield mentality.” Cote said that 75 percent of workers said their bosses made their work environment stressful, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  

This is the ninth and final story in a series covering the leadership sessions offered on campus.