In the previous few blogs, we have been examining the importance of knowing your “shadow side”, and the negative side effects that can come having no awareness of those patterns and behaviors.
In the next few blogs, we will be examining the negative consequences of leader’s “shadow sides” that I have personally witnessed in my work as an executive coach. I’ve made them vague to protect each leaders’ identity, so names and industries have been altered. These are vivid examples of what can happen when one does not pay attention to the shadow side of your Archetypal Blueprint pattern.
Let me say that these people are not ‘bad’. These were leaders who were doing their best, but acting out of a lack of self-knowledge and mastery. When a challenging opportunity hit them, they dug into preservation mode without any true reflection or choice.
“The Invincible One”
“Tristan” was a visionary, full of charisma, confidence and drive. He knew the real estate business well with 25 years of experience, opening regional offices and developing a huge network. He was one of the rock stars. In the late 90’s, he decided to break off from his long-time employer where he was a partner and set up his own shop. His former partners were not pleased, as they would now be in direct competition with him.
Once Tristan’s new office had been established, his ambition and hard work kicked in. Within six months, he had multiple agents working for him and was generating cost-covering revenue. Within the year, he successfully doubled his income and started a satellite office in another city.
At this time, his former employer started to make some noise about improprieties and the possible stealing of client data. Tristan had a fierce drive to make his business successful at all costs and ignored these issues. Some of his new employees were noticing a difference between the stated values of the company verses what was really practiced. But it all seemed to be an acceptable part of the start-up mentality. Everyone put in the long hours with a belief in the bigger picture and pay-off that was to come.
Tristan’s initial success didn’t come without a price. Caught up in his ambition and drive, he began to think of himself as invincible. He sold himself and others on the story that he was the underdog. A street-smart, scrappy kid who would eventually ‘show them all’ that he was in fact a very successful alpha dog.
One of the shadow aspects of Tristan’s power was seduction. His charm wasn’t only used on potential customers and recruits. He apparently had an affair in his previous office and was set on having one with a new woman in his own business. Needless to say, in a small office this did not go unnoticed. It created jealousy, accusations of favoritism, and gossip, lowering morale.
In addition to the affair, Tristan’s arrogance also convinced him that he was above the law. His former employer finally had legal charges brought against him and the business. This created an office atmosphere of being wrongly persecuted and under attack. For Tristan, this only added fuel to his fire.
Although he fought the fight of the ‘righteous’, after several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, he was convicted on 11 counts of property theft. He was not the only person persecuted either, former colleagues who helped him set up the company in the first place were all sentenced to jail time. A person who once was an amazing visionary and influencer, Tristan failed to notice he had lost his integrity and that he was not above the laws of repercussion.