Manfred Kets de Vries (1942- )
Dutch professor at the INSEAD Business School near Paris and an expert in the psychology of leadership (pictured
The Neurotic Organization
(1984), written with Danny Miller
There are five neurotic types of organization, reflected in the personalities of their
Flamboyant, entrepreneurial and intuitive (e.g. Richard
2. Paranoid (or suspicious)
Distrust of others leading to close supervision and severe punishment of mistakes.
3. Schizoid (or detached)
Social isolation from the rest of the organization.
Low self-esteem and haunted by a guilty past.
Obsessed with detail and controlling others.
These may initially contribute to an organization’s success, but eventually they will contribute to its
failure, if they are over-used.
Key quote on business success
Decision making, leadership, strategy formation, structuring and organizational change are influenced in subtle
and complex ways by “invisible”, long-standing psychological forces of which the individual is usually
The Leadership Mystique
The best leaders have emotional intelligence i.e. the ability to build successful
So successful leadership requires:
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
(having the humility and moral courage to admit your weaknesses and do something about them).
So avoid ego driven narcissism and tackle your psychological problems, even though the consequences may be
We are all potentially prisoners of our past (particularly our childhood), and we must learn to free ourselves
3. Patience and perseverance
(they can move mountains).
4. Active listening
Absorbing what people say and acting upon it.
Being prepared to:
- challenge the status quo.
- push yourself and your organization to create a new and better future.
Avoid the mussel syndrome (the natural human aversion to change).
Welcome people who:
- accept constructive criticism.
6. Authentic living
Creating an authentizotic organization in which every employee leads a psychologically
fulfilling, authentic life from:
- learning and empowerment.
- work-life balance - nobody’s last words were “I should have spent more time in the office”.
7. Visibility and availability
Meet people and involve them in decision making.
Knowing and practising your principles.
9. Trust and empowerment
Encourage people to take responsibility for decisions and results.
A leader should b a helmsman “who shows fellow travellers the way by walking ahead”.
10. Continuous learning
Learning from other people and experience.
Key quote on business success (2nd edition,
Organizations are like automobiles. They don’t run themselves, except downhill. They need people to make them
work. And not just any people but the right people.
Key quote on
If the leadership dimension isn’t in place, a company simply can’t be successful.