To some degree, all successful entrepreneurs have problems with authority, which is why they are so eager to demolish the status quo and replace it with something else.
To be sure, too much psychopathy will predispose someone to crime and prison rather than Apple or Amazon. But at the other extreme of the continuum, people who are so conforming and eager to please would much rather follow established rules and remain “good employees” rather than be disruptive leaders.
So while a certain degree of nonconformity and unconventionality is needed to drive innovation and entrepreneurship, any leader will need to have a minimum level of integrity, empathy and altruism to be able to connect with and focus on the well-being of their teams, rather than on advancing their own personal agenda.
It is this range of pro-social and ethical traits that can turn even contrarian and combative personalities into a catalyst for good in society: Replacing the status-quo with a better version of progress.
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, a professor of business psychology at University College London and at Columbia University, and an associate at Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. He’s the author of “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It).” Follow him on Twitter
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