Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change
Destructive Leadership; Transformational Leadership; Narcissism; Corporate Governance; Corporate Governance Across the World;
The continent of Africa presents a unique context of study for leadership scholars. A vast expanse of land encompassing over 50 countries, territories, and states with over 1.1 billion people, Africa’s diversity of ethnicities, cultures, and languages are both sources of richness and potential conflict.In this article, the authors explore examples of two leadership extremes within the context of Africa: transformational and destructive leadership. Through foundational work on transformational leadership, as well as relatively newer work on destructive leadership, the authors explore some of the psychological, situational, and institutional forces that account for the contrasting natures of exemplary transformational and notorious despotic African leaders.Following this contrast, the authors present countermeasures that can be taken to survive and thrive despite narcissistic leaders, and even the possibility of transforming them before they become truly destructive.