Perverse leader: what characteristics?

Perverse leader: what characteristics?

For the perverse leader, the most important thing is to have control over others, primarily to destroy them psychologically. This gives him a sense of superiority and satisfies his desire to manipulate and harm.

Perverse leader: what characteristics?

Last update: April 02, 2021

The perverse leader is a figure who has two distinctive traits: the influence on others and going against everything that is healthy for those who are under its area of ​​influence. He does not necessarily have eccentric behavior or a particularly cruel character. However, he is a person who harms consistently.

It is not always clear what is meant by the term "perverse". Without going into the academic specifications, it refers to a person who deviates from behavior that can be defined as "normal" in a destructive sense. In particular, in the field of leadership, it refers to an individual who does not establish cooperative and empathic relationships with others.

The perverse leader tends to act in a way that disrupts the group and each of the individuals that compose it. He exercises meticulous control, more with the aim of exalting himself than achieving good results. Likewise, it often pushes to break the rules. It also has other traits, such as those we will list below.

Traits of the wicked leader


The perverse leader often displays what is known as prosperity and membership. Prosperity refers to skills, resources, knowledge, or any other aspect in which the person excels over the average. This is a factor that often attracts others and strengthens the authority he has over them.

On the other hand, it is adherent. This means that has a great ability to convey his enthusiasm or passion for something to others. It's as if his emotions are contagious and leave no one indifferent. Therefore, she is able to attract others like a magnet.


When the perverse leader is said to be tanatic, it means that tends to set destructive goals, but making them seem pleasant. A typical example is the gang leader or someone who conducts acts of aggression or intimidation within a group.

This kind of leader has the ability to amplify or discover the cruel side of other people. One way or another, we could all behave reprehensibly under certain circumstances, and this type of leader is able to create circumstances that relax or nullify the moral oversight we hold over our behavior. He likes to hurt or destroy and incites others to transgression.


This trait is most evident in perverse leaders who hold some sort of formal power. One way or another they establish logic that pits people against each other. They incite unhealthy competition and conflict, even in subtle ways.

For this type of leader, it is dangerous for the weak to join together. Therefore, and individually, try to destroy the self-confidence of others. This grants them greater control over the group, while deepening the effect of the power they exert on others.

The perverse leader is a narcissist

Most such leaders are highly intelligent or, at the very least, very cunning. It is also very common that they are charismatic and do not care what opinion others may have about them. This gives them a certain aura of security and firmness.

Their skills, but above all their character structure, lead them to feel superior. Their "audience" tends to reinforce this idea. Because of this, they are very narcissistic, which means they have a hard time seeing and hearing beyond their egos. They can easily collapse in the face of a threat to their power.

Go beyond

These people are generally very intelligent. It is above all a matter of practical intelligence which they use, often and paradoxically, to "understand" others. They capture the behavior of others in their own mind, but without feeling empathy for them, with the sole purpose of manipulating them.

The intelligence of these leaders is characterized by their detachment from ethics. They very rarely become violent criminals, but they frequently transgress the law. They damage and destroy, especially for the satisfaction they feel in disconcerting or minimizing others, not in eliminating them.

The perverse leader is undervalued

Perverse leaders are also often underestimated in two different ways. First, they generally don't do anything particularly striking. For this reason, they are rarely seen as "perverse" by others. Rather, they are considered a bit risky, daring or problematic, nothing more.

On the other hand, they themselves underestimate their ability to do damage. For them, a minor crime is not a crime, but almost a game or a challenge, which is why they feel no remorse. They don't believe their way of acting is negative or reprehensible. For them, if there are negative consequences, they are not so important as to prompt them to change.

Leaders of this type often attract people who are well suited to their characteristics. If they are at the head of a work group, for example, they often shame, humiliate, deceive and do everything to make those who criticize their positions feel bad. They cannot be classified as dangerous, but surely they can be classified as harmful.

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