Dean’s Disease

“Dean’s Disease” is a common problem that affects many people found in a management or leadership position. This problem occurs for many different reasons, but typically appears when someone in a power role begins to abuse their power and use it in areas they shouldn’t be. They start to convince themselves that the only view of a subject that should be considered is their own, and they refrain from listening to anything other people have to say. They soon begin to act like a dictator and people doing confront them or challenge them because they are afraid of their power.

Leaders overcome by the dean’s disease begin to use their power to threaten their subordinates, which causes their followers to give into the pressure and do whatever the leader says. The leaders become so wrapped up in themselves and lose sight of their ultimate goals and responsibilities, causing them to act in unethical ways. Once the leader starts to exercise this ultimate power, it becomes very hard to ever get re-focused and grounded with the way they should be leading. They begin to justify their decisions and truly convince themselves that they are doing the right thing and that they deserve to be in control of their surroundings.

I think it is very important for companies to take a close look at a candidate before they place them in a management position, to help ensure they won’t be regretting their decision when the manager is overcome with the “disease”. They should evaluate their past behavior to make sure it isn’t an attitude they have displayed in their previous positions, and ask behavioral questions to see how they would conduct themselves once they are granted the power to manage. Another thing a company can do is build a culture with their existing managers to show them the correct way to manage, by exhibiting this behavior in their upper level managers. If the company can do a good job of weeding out managers who might potentially succumb to the pressures of being a manager, and display they way they expect their managers to act, they have a better chance to get their desired results.

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Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 8:26 PM  Leave a Comment  

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