Articles

Managing Puzzling Personalities: Navigating Between Live Volcanoes and Dead Fish (1999)

Manfred Kets de Vries

"Two extreme styles of managerial personality"

This article reviews the two extreme styles of managerial personality, which can be found in business life. Not all people have stable, middle-of-the-road emotions. The author terms these two personality styles 'ways of managing mood states' hypomania (cyclical and significant changes in mood, behavior and thinking) and alexithymia (emotional detachment and lack of feeling). Hypomaniacs and alexithymics are more common than one would think. The author explores the challenge of working with hypomaniacs and alexithymics, and coping strategies used by their colleagues. Clearly, executives who are emotionally intelligent i. e. who know themselves and are empathetic to others, can best encourage their colleagues and, in a knowledge-based society, even bring a competitive advantage.

European Management Journal, 1999

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