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Authoritarian Leadership Characteristics

Updated: 6 Sept 12; 09 Sept 2013.

When extreme, Authoritarian leaders:

  • Have narrow uncompromising views
  • Usually miss the better solutions
  • Alienate their peers
  • Use charisma, charm, and deceit to con others into giving them power—even in the most advanced democracies
  • Sway susceptible Authoritarian voters—corrupting democracy
  • Take advantage of the innocent and naive

These traits arise from our genomic preferences to live in a hierarchy, to be submissive to those above and dominant to those below. In the middle levels, they get along quite well. Trouble arises when extreme authoritarians achieve power for they have no conscience. Authoritarians are typically conservative, but many are liberal. Fostering democracy is not their nature. Ironically, democratic governance of any sort makes it easy for authoritarians and sociopaths to operate. Controlling them depends first on recognizing them. Most often, that never happens. See Tea Leaves for how to deal with extreme Authoritarians and sociopaths.

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