Several factors inspired this study:
1. The realization that there are three types of leaders, and one of these types is exceptionally rare and effective. The first are the “Jimmy Carters” (a reference to his days in the White House). With great respect for the former president, he didn’t seem to have a dark side, and as a result, was a wimpy leader. The second are the “Eliot Spitzers.” With less respect to the former New York governor, some people are possessed by their dark side, taking actions that look insane in the light of public scrutiny. But until their “fall,” this second group appears strong and bold—far more effective than the first type. After the fall, they are never trusted again. The third type are those who tap energy from their dark side, while never succumbing to its temptation. One who has found this sweet spot, but not always stayed there, was Steve Jobs. This third group comes across as having gravitas and higher aspirations—once in a generation leaders.
2. Most of the leadership material suggests that people give themselves over to higher aspirations—pure values and a noble cause. As the lead writer for Tribal Leadership, I’ll take the blame for sending that message—it was, at best, incomplete. This advice, taken alone produces “hippy”-like people who are often taken out by politics.
3. For people who have read Tribal Leadership, one of the questions we often get is, “where does the selfish energy of ‘I’m great’ go as groups advance to ‘we’re great’ and ‘life is great’?” The answer is that no energy is ever lost. It changes form but never dissipates, and it is not magically converted into optimism and selflessness. So where does it go? Part of the answer is that it remains “dark.” This single fact produces new pathways to create the highest-level cultures and effectiveness.
4. The realization that people good at politics can destroy an effort based in Tribal Leadership or The Three Laws of Performance. Great leaders need to stand against these onslaughts, outmaneuvering politics and actions of people who seek to end organization and world-changing efforts.
5. In interviews with very prominent people, every single one has described the destruction that comes with fame and quick fortune. Most say that they would never wish these “blessings” on others. And yet the fact remains that these individuals make huge contributions, and somehow stand against the self-destruction of their fame.
6. Great talent happens in the lives of people with large dark sides. While dealing with the darkness of addiction, suicidal tendencies, etc., these individuals often produce art that teaches us all about the range of human experience.
I hope you’ll decide to be a part of the Dark Side adventure. It’s taken a tribe to get this far. Will take a tribe to make it good. Will take a great tribe to make it great.
About Dave Logan Dave is co-author of four books including, Tribal Leadership, a New York Times bestseller, and The Three Laws of Performance, a USAToday bestseller. Dave is co-founder of CultureSync, a firm that increases performance by aligning strategy and workplace culture through proven research. Since 1996, he has been a faculty member at the USC Marshall School of Business (including former associate dean of executive education), teaching leadership in the top-ranked Executive MBA, and helping to launch the Master of Medical Management. He has given keynotes and lectures all over the world, including to Fortune 100 companies, major universities, governments, and large not-for-profits. He holds a PhD from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles with his family and two cats, including The Dude.
Please also visit www.davelogan.com