Some of us have had the unfortunate experience of working with “Domineering” strong leaders that have caused a good deal of harm.

Here is Dan Rockwell delineating twelve problems with strong personalities as leaders.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

The problem with strong personalities (SP’s) is their ability for good is matched by their ability to harm.

All strong personalities, in some ways, are jerks.


  1. Don’t play well with others.
  2. Make weaker people feel bullied.
  3. Expect things to go their way. They love control.
  4. Judge quickly.
  5. Change their mind slowly, if at all.
  6. Enjoy leading teams who admire and agree with them.
  7. Collide with other strong personalities.
  8. Allow others to step back to make space for them to step in.
  9. Struggle to release less important issues. Everything is important.
  10. Don’t see themselves through the eyes of others.
  11. See everything as black or white.
  12. Exhibit impatience and intolerance.

All problems with strong personalities reflect positive potential.


The goal when leading strong personalities is maximize their passion. Pushing SP’s to fit-in dampens passion.

Conformity drains passion.

The good thing about strong personalities is they resist compliance. The challenge is helping them fit-in enough so they can do the most good.

Passion is the opposite of conformity.


Strong personalities feel frustrated when they don’t get what they want. Help them see frustration and resistance as an opportunity to fulfill their passion.

Listen to their passion. Don’t dampen it.

  1. Help SP’s who are passionate about excellence connect developing others as the pursuit of excellence.
  2. Help SP’s who are passionate about clarity view confusion as an opportunity to clarify focus.
  3. Help SP’s who are passionate about change view resistance as a transformation challenge.

Don’t make SP’s feel something is wrong with them. View situations through the lens of their passion and find ways for them to express, rather than suppress, themselves.

Strong personalities do the most good and the most harm in organizations.

Successful leaders maximize the potential of strong personalities.

What are some problems with strong personalities?

How might leaders create environments where strong personalities thrive?