How to Recognize an Authoritarian Personality

To be able to address problems with people most effectively, it helps to understand them. The following list of behaviors will help you recognize authoritarian personalities in the workplace.

Authoritarian personalities are seen in people who consider themselves right in nearly all circumstances. They place "being right" at a higher priority than getting along with other people, and certainly higher than compromise and collaboration.

The authoritarian personality may be seen in any level of the business. We may encounter:

  1. Ruling peers.
  2. Micromanaging bosses.
  3. Subordinate staff.

These people are typically controllers who want everything their own way. For example, we may see a manager delegate a job and then proceed to dictate how that job needs to be done without regard to the personality or needs of the individual assigned with the task.

Often authoritarian people will:

  1. Try to control WHAT gets done.
  2. Try to control HOW things get done.
  3. Ignore company or departmental procedures.
  4. Use given authority or use manipulation to make certain the work is done his or her way.
  5. Attempt to dictate expectations to their own manager.
  6. Take on an undelegated supervisory role with coworkers.
Author: Sheri Schmeckpeper

Sheri Schmeckpeper holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Financial Management and Computer Information Systems as well as a Master's degree in Adult Education and Distance Learning. She is a Microsoft Certified Professional and Trainer. Sheri has implemented distance learning programs at three top institutions of higher education, has been a guest speaker on radio, and has presented at local and national training workshops. Her diverse background includes technology, education, interpersonal relations, finance, and management. Sheri has developed and facilitated courses in the areas of instructional technology and online learning, faculty development, communications, finance, and professional development and achievement. She is currently co-founder of the Institute for Instructional Excellence and directs the Center for Excellent Living where she is also a life coach.

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