Putting Leaders on the Couch: A conversation with Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries (2004)

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries & Diane Coutu

"Psychological profile of successful CEOs"

In this interview, Kets de Vries draws on three decades of study to describe the psychological profile of successful CEOs, exploring senior executives' vulnerabilities, which are often intensified by followers' attempts to manipulate their leaders. Leaders, according to the author, have an uncanny ability to awaken transferential processes in which people transfer the dynamics of past relationships onto present interactions among their employees and even within themselves. These processes can present themselves in a number of ways, sometimes negatively. Not all CEOs are psychologically unhealthy, of course. Healthy leaders are talented in self-observation and self-analysis. The best are highly motivated to spend time on self-reflection. Their lives are in balance, they can play, they are creative and inventive, and they have the capacity to be nonconformist.

Harvard Business Review, 2004

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