There’s a special kind of confidence that is required by anyone aspiring to run for Prime Minister or President and there is a known psychological trait called ‘fearless dominance’ which is common to such leaders, both past and present.
Such individuals are typically excellent crisis managers, because they remain cool and calm under pressure and have the courage of their convictions to make bold decisions in the face of overwhelming risk. This type of person is usually charismatic and will carry their people with them to ensure that the job gets done. That is the positive side of being a dominant personality.
However, there is a negative side as well. This type of person can also cross over the line from being assertive and self-assured to exhibiting intimidatory and bullying behaviour.
A dominant person will usually want to do things their way and is not necessarily open to new ideas and thinking. They frequently seek to take over discussions, overrule other opinions and can sometimes leave behind an environment of fear and diminished morale.
Nevertheless, such a person can be a great asset to a team if you can exploit their strengths whilst minimising their weaknesses.
So how can you get the best out of the dominant personality? Do they need to be controlled? Do they need to learn to be an integral part of your team and to work alongside others who do not posses their behaviour characteristics?
First of all, the dominant personality needs to be aware of their temperament and the effect they can have on others. They do not usually see their behaviour as aggressive or heavy-handed although others may certainly do so.
It is interesting to note that members of staff often view their increasingly forceful colleagues as being more competent than themselves. It is easy to think that someone who has the courage to speak up at meetings – particularly if they speak forcefully and with confidence, that their opinions must be of value, but this is not necessarily so. Sometimes, meetings get out of control and away from the published agenda because those who do have something to say of value, are side-lined by stronger voices.
So, are you a dominant personality?
- Do you think your self-confidence could be seen as arrogance?
- Are you always very direct in your conversations with others?
- Do you frequently make quick decisions without consultation?
- Have you ever been accused of being aggressive?
- Do you tend to monopolise conversations and meetings?
- Are you impatient with other people who are slower than you?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to most of the above, then maybe you have an inbuilt dominant trait, and the good news is that there are many advantages in being such a personality.
You could possess the attributes of being a great leader and have the capability of being able to handle challenging situations easily. Your strong character could beneficially impact the rest of the team and be of great value to the organisation. However, it is important for you to be able to appreciate the perspectives of others around you. Not everyone is as confident as you and that is exactly as it should be because every individual brings different strengths to any team.
However, it is necessary for dominant personalities to be aware that others may see such character traits as overpowering to the point where they want to keep their distance from you. Your authoritative behaviour and matching body language may upset other members of your team and could create conflict within the group and a successful group depends on good team dynamics that involve everyone within it.
Teams invariably comprise a range of different behaviour types from ‘quiet’ to ‘loud’. Members who demonstrate dominant characteristics can be a great asset to any team as they are frequently the ‘movers and shakers’ and can excel at completing a job done on time and on budget. However, they need to be aware that they should to establish a majority consensus within the group if they are to be and remain successful leaders with a competitive advantage over others. Without consensus, a dominant personality becomes a dictator and that is not to the advantage of anyone.
- Dominance can be either advantageous or disadvantageous
- Personality traits need to be exploited for the common good
- Leaders need to establish a consensus to retain their position