Machiavellian Leaders — As Sly As A Fox

The personality traits of Machiavellian Leaders and how you can identify them

2 min readApr 21, 2021


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As the personality concept of Machiavellianism implies the lack of ethical and moral belief system thus, the leaders possessing Machiavellian characteristics tend to practice manipulativeness tactics to gain control over the organization.

In most cases, this type of leader will use fear, retaliation, and intimidation to have the upper hand in certain situations. Also, most of the Machiavellian leaders who have narcissistic traits can create a domineering and authoritative work environment as they continuously seek power adoration, and superiority. As this type of leader does not take any responsibility for the failures thus, their arrogance and fallacious decision-making behavior only lead to an organization’s demise.

These leaders are well capable of handling stress and confused situations, also their cold nature and emotional detachment usually help them in terms of achieving a definite outcome in everything.

Thus, most often national and corporate cultures adopt Machiavellian values or at least behaviors. Because corporate cultures sometimes require the individual to disregard the ethical approaches to business, therefore, they had to practice the Machiavellian strategies to achieve beneficial purposes. No matter what are the reasons it is inevitable that if a Machiavellian leader is delegated in any leadership role of an organization the employees and community of that organization will endure suffering.

In the present day’s political world some of the leaders might have a few Machiavellian characteristics and traits. For instance, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and China’s Xi Jinping are some of those political leaders with Machiavellian traits. Their ambitious, exploitative, and manipulative nature provides them the advantageous situations to regulate the system. These leaders are identified as Machiavellian as they possess cynicism along with the charm and most often they get things done in their way without tolerating any external restraint.

From the concept of Machiavellianism, we can have in-depth insights into the political power and personality traits of the political leaders and these insights can help us to understand these twisted leaders.


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Furnham, A. (2010). The machiavellian leader. In A. Furnham (Ed.), The Elephant in the Boardroom: The causes of leadership derailment (pp. 140–151). Palgrave Macmillan UK.




Ph.D. Candidate (Mgmt)| Educator |Content Writer | Writing about things that intrigue my curious mind |