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Exploitation versus abuse: which is worse?

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It’s rarely an accident that propels an individual into a leadership position. There’s generally some level of ambition or at least a little self-interest, which as discrete attributes are no big deal. To climb the corporate or entrepreneurial ladder necessitates a certain amount of drive and assurance.

It’s when those attributes are combined and super-powered that they become a recipe for misuse and exploitation. Or rather, abuse and exploitation, since at the core of such behaviour is a clear intention to strategically place others in an inferior, weak and helpless position with the aim of furthering one’s own career goals. Hence why scholars have now given it a name: exploitative leadership.

Exploitative leadership has ripple effects. Credit:Arsineh Houspian.

Exploitative leadership is about ego. It’s about taking credit. It’s about manipulation.

It’s also about subtlety and pleasantness, which may appear odd in this mix of otherwise negative characteristics but are nonetheless essential since........

© The Age