Tuesday, March 26, 2024

g-f(2)2138 Hubris: The Leader's Poison - How Power Can Corrupt and Destroy


genioux Fact post by Fernando Machuca and Bard (Gemini)


This article, "Beyond Narcissism: How Leaders Can Avoid the Hubris Trap," by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries explores the dangers of hubris, a state of excessive self-belief and arrogance that can plague leaders in positions of power. It contrasts hubris with narcissism, highlighting how hubris is a temporary condition fueled by power, while narcissism is a deeper personality trait. The article offers valuable insights and practical steps leaders can take to avoid succumbing to hubris.

genioux GK Nugget:  

"Hubris, a leader's intoxication with power, leads to reckless decisions and organizational downfall." — Fernando Machuca and Gemini, March 26, 2024

genioux Foundational Fact:

Hubris, unlike narcissism, is not a permanent personality flaw but a temporary state brought on by excessive power. While narcissists crave admiration, hubristic leaders believe themselves to be above everyone else. This inflated sense of self-importance leads to poor decision-making and ultimately, self-destruction.

The 10 Most Relevant genioux Facts:

  1. Hubris is a state of excessive self-belief and arrogance that can cloud a leader's judgment.
  2. Leaders intoxicated by hubris often lose touch with reality and make reckless decisions.
  3. Hubris is more dangerous than narcissism because it leads to a complete disconnect from reality.
  4. Narcissistic leaders can still be successful if they maintain a grasp on reality.
  5. Hubristic leaders are characterized by dysfunctional and destructive behavior.
  6. Leaders must be self-aware and open to feedback to avoid hubris.
  7. Regular and constructive criticism can help keep leaders grounded.
  8. Humor and irony can be effective tools against hubris.
  9. Humility is an essential quality for leaders to cultivate.
  10. Hubristic leaders can cause immense damage to their organizations and societies.


Leaders play a crucial role in shaping the success of their organizations and communities. By understanding the dangers of hubris and taking proactive measures to avoid it, leaders can ensure they are making sound decisions that benefit everyone.  Practicing self-awareness, embracing feedback, and leading with humility are key to fostering a healthy leadership style and avoiding the pitfalls of hubris.


The g-f GK Article

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Beyond Narcissism: How Leaders Can Avoid the Hubris Trap, INSEAD Knowledge, March 19, 2024.

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries is the Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change and the Raoul de Vitry d'Avaucourt Chaired Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus, at INSEAD. His unique perspective on leadership and organizational change combines knowledge from economics, management, and psychoanalysis. His areas of interest include leadership, career dynamics, executive stress, entrepreneurship, family business, succession planning, cross-cultural management, team building, coaching, and corporate transformation. Kets de Vries directs The Challenge of Leadership Executive Education program and has received the INSEAD Distinguished Teacher Award five times. He is recognized as one of the world's leading management thinkers and influential contributors to human resource management¹.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/28/2024

(1) Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries | INSEAD. https://www.insead.edu/faculty/manfred-f-r-kets-de-vries.

(2) Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries - Faculty Profile | INSEAD. https://executive-education.insead.edu/faculty-research/faculty/manfred-f-r-kets-de-vries.

(3) Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries | INSEAD Knowledge. https://knowledge.insead.edu/author/manfred-f-r-kets-de-vries.

The Peril of Hubris: A Classical Summary

Hubris, a transgression against the gods in Greek mythology, manifests in leaders as an inflated sense of self-importance brought on by power. This arrogance blinds them to their limitations, leading to rash decisions and ultimately, downfall. Unlike narcissism, a more permanent personality trait, hubris is a temporary condition fueled by excessive power. While narcissistic leaders still seek validation, hubristic leaders believe themselves to be above reproach.

Leaders susceptible to hubris must cultivate self-awareness and embrace criticism to maintain a healthy perspective. History offers cautionary tales like Xerxes, the Persian king who whipped the sea in frustration.  Just as leaders of old faced divine retribution for hubris, contemporary leaders risk organizational ruin and societal harm. True leadership demands humility and a grounded understanding of one's strengths and weaknesses. Only then can leaders avoid the intoxicating poison of hubris and navigate the complexities of power with wisdom.

The categorization and citation of the genioux Fact post


This genioux Fact post is classified as Breaking Knowledge which means:  Insights for comprehending the forces molding our world and making sense of news and trends.

Type: Breaking Knowledge, Free Speech

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