Donald Trump was appointed President of the United States of America on January 20, 2017. This fact came as a great surprise to many, who awaited his ideology, his controversial and disturbing statements and policies and the aggressiveness boasted during the campaign. election, with his background as a business mogul (with no experience in politics) meant a clear victory for the other presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. However, it was still Trump who won. One of the reasons was his highly dominant personality.
This is not the only case: several dominant leaders came to power throughout history, sometimes chosen by the population. Because? In this article, we will talk about the characteristics of dominant people and why they are sometimes chosen.
- Related article: “Types of Leadership: The 5 Most Common Ruling Classes”
Characteristics of Dominant Leaders
Dominance is not a negative attribute in itself. The ability to master has a utility: it serves the subject to achieve his objectives, to focus on them, even to use the available resources to achieve them. To a greater or lesser extent, we all have some degree of it and we are at some point in a continuum between domination and submission.
A dominant person tended to be very self-confident, stubborn, and have a preference for control. They are usually not content with what is offered to them, they tend to have little appreciation of conventions and to be independent and focused on themselves and their needs.
In cases where dominance is extremely high, people with a higher dominance level they tend to exhibit higher levels of arrogance and a sense of superiority. They also tend to be utilitarian, more irascible, and seem to show greater decision-making ability by ignoring the fact that other perspectives of reality more than their own may be as or more correct than the one they are. they advocate.
They tend to think more dichotomously and seek greater fame, prestige, and power. In fact, it’s common for them to have the so-called dark triad: narcissism, Machiavellianism / manipulation, and psychopathy.
Narcissism and psychopathy
As for narcissism, it is generally people in great need of care, who demand recognition of their merits and that they tend to exhibit behavior in which they tend to self-assess in an overly positive way. They consider themselves first, then value others.
Psychopathy manifests itself as a strong lack of empathy, acting in accordance with the achievement of one’s own goals without regard to the effects their behavior may have on others, and showing little depth in their emotional responses. In addition, they generally exhibit a great capacity for seduction, which facilitates a positive predisposition towards them when they are treated superficially.
To finish, Machiavellianism refers to the ability to manipulate: Make others think, create or do what the person wants to take advantage of to achieve their own goals.
They tend to seek to stand out and it is common for them to marginalize or harm subjects who have more skills than them, establishing strict vigilance over what is being done. Dominant leaders tend to be in higher demand when it comes to tackling specific, high-profile tasks or times when a quick and sure response is needed.
Why are they chosen?
Since an excess of dominance often borders on totalitarianism and the search for the submission of the rest to the opinion of the dominant person or us, one has to ask oneself why so many people come together and choose the dominant leaders at one point.
A lot of experiments have been done in this regard to try to find a clear cause for this trend, and the most plausible answer is something that we have indeed been able to see again and again throughout history, and which we can observe if we analyze how different dominant leaders came to power (through elections, not dictatorial): intolerance of uncertainty.
And it is that many leaders with dominant characteristics have appeared in times of great uncertainty and great suffering. In these situations, there is a great sense of insecurity in a large part of the population, and in the face of this insecurity, many seek a solid point from which to act. We are looking for someone who can identify with strength and a clear vision of things, Someone with a high level of security in themselves and in their outlook. These are characteristics that a dominant person, even if their opinions are not shared, possesses or appears to have.
Thus, what pushes dominant leaders to access positions of power is generally the perception of a lack of power and control of situations by the subject who chooses them, seeking to improve the situation of insecurity and discomfort therein. is associated through compensation.
Why not other types of leaders?
In the situations discussed above, it has been observed not only that the preference for dominant rulers increases, but also that the preference for less authoritarian and more prestige-based rulers decreases.
The reason is that a leader who comes to power on the basis of prestige usually shows a higher level of awareness, empathy and humility (although he can also show pride), being more agreeable to the majority and more viewed with different points of view. But in crisis situations, some people see these qualities as a difficulty in making difficult decisions and a way to act slowly and quietly.
Many people in crisis see these qualities, generally seen as positive, as a sign of weakness: altruism and flexibility are seen as a threat to integrity and a source of insecurity, which does not sufficiently protect the group. membership itself.
Evolution over time
However, this leadership style is only sustainable when swift action is needed in the face of a stressful situation. That is, it is a type of power that is effective in the short term or as long as the problem or situation persists and has not previously been resolved by other means. In the medium to long term, however, he stops valuing positively and tends to disappear behind other types of leadership more flexible and caring with all elements of the company.
However, once in power, the dominant person tends to secure their position by implementing different processes and mechanisms. This is one of the reasons why many dominant leaders who have come to power through elections end up becoming dictators. even it is likely that the dominant leader may cause a greater imbalance than the one that led to his rise, What on the other hand can make your domination a little more attractive which facilitates your permanence.
- Asquith, D., Lyons, M., Watson, H., and Jonason, P. (2014). Feathered Birds Come Together: Evidence of Matching Mating for Selected Dark Personality Traits and Individual Differences
- Maner, JK (2017). Dominance and prestige: a story of two hierarchies. Current orientations in psychological sciences, 26 (6), 526-531.