Surprising Attributes of Great Leaders

This PsyBlog post on the surprising attributes of great leaders is not so surprising to Pack Leader Psychology readers.

Apparently, research has shown that humility is an important characteristic of successful leaders. Quoting from an Administrative Science Quarterly article:

“Overall, humble individuals accept that something is greater than the self. Humility is manifested in self-awareness, openness to feedback, appreciation of others, low self-focus, and pursuit of self-transcendence.

Humble people willingly seek accurate self-knowledge and accept their imperfections while remaining fully aware of their talents and abilities.

They appreciate others’ positive worth, strengths, and contributions and thus have no need for entitlement or dominance over others.” (Ou et al., 2014).

As I write in Pack Leader Psychology, insecure people with low self-worth may be Dominators, who attempt to exert control and power over others to manage their fears. A key character trait of Dominators is a lack of accountability for their behaviors. They have difficulty handling the shame of criticism, so they tend to lash out in anger and blame others. They rarely can apologize, take responsibility or admit fault. Dominators clearly lack humility, and are often labeled as “narcissistic” or “antisocial” or “bullies.”

But Pack Leaders are the opposite. They can be self-aware of both their faults and talents, without being boastful, as  Dominator would be, or self-deprecating, as a Submissive would be.

We need more balanced Pack Leaders as CEOs and politicians!



Female leadership: Is it different?

August 4, 2012

Gregg R. Murray, Ph.D., has an interesting blog on www.psychologytoday called “Caveman Politics: How evolution impacts politics.” His latest post is: “Where are the female candidates?

He notes that in the 2012 election season we have a paucity of female candidates. None for president, of course, but also no gubernatorial candidates. Around the world only 1% of government national leaders are female. He then cites statistics on other types of executive leadership in the business world, where there are few female CEOs. He even goes back to look at the number of female Egyptian pharoahs and royalty around the world over the centuries. Also few females.

This is interesting (and, as a female, disheartening), but makes me recall this fact: For years primate researchers only studied the obvious “leadership” of the male non-human primates. They only noticed the tree-shaking rages and rampages, the overt power and sexual dominance. Fortunately, some researchers are now noting that females also exert leadership, but it is not as obvious to human observers (who may be mostly male?). We now know that female apes and chimps use their social skills to influence, persuade, calm, cajole and nurture. They may not shake trees and scream, but they lead all the same. In humans we now call this Emotional Intelligence (thank you, Daniel Goleman). Good leaders use all forms of emotional communication, not just aggression, dominance and violence. (Which I discuss in my book “Pack Leader Psychology.”) Perhaps we need to look at not just the socially noticeable forms of leadership (CEO, president, etc.) and note that women really do lead, just in a different way.  Makes me think of: “Behind every successful man is a good woman.” Let’s recognize and honor all the ways humans lead (and should lead), not just the male-approved versions.

The Dog That Taught Me About Leadership


Reilly, the Muse for “Pack Leader Psychology”

As I say in “Pack Leader Psychology,” a growl instantly moved me from pack member to pack leader with my dog, Reilly. But if I hadn’t had a dog that understood how to be a pack member, I might never have learned this lesson. And I might never have made the connection that being a pack leader to people might also be a good thing for my interpersonal relationships as well.

The story begins when I got Reilly as an eight-month-old dog. She had grown up in an outdoor kennel with her birth pack and several adult dogs. Living for so long with this normal dog pack taught Reilly how to recognize and honor the pack leader or leaders — probably her mother and father.

Continue reading

Welcome to the inaugural Pack Leader Psychology blog post!

I’m very excited to begin this new adventure that has been about six years in the making. I have written a non-fiction self-help book called “Pack Leader Psychology,” and this blog is the first step in introducing the ideas in that book to the public. A full website will follow soon and the book is now available as an e-book on Amazon (Kindle fans!). Print and e-versions on B&N and other sites will be due shortly.

So what is the book about?  Tough to shorten 230 pages down into a few paragraphs, but here goes:

“Pack Leader Psychology” recounts the lessons I learned while becoming a pack leader to my dog, Reilly, that helped transform me from a submissive, abused wife into a calm, confident, independent and assertive human pack leader. Read More