Freud, Fromm, and Leadership


Freud and Fromm talk about four different personality types from a leadership perspective: the erotic, obsessive, narcissist, and the marketing personality.

The erotic personality is one of high maintenance, always seeking to be needed and loved. They place a priority on being liked above respect. They have a divine interest in others and getting to know them. The leader that has this person on their team needs to be prepared to nurture, acknowledge, and entertain this person.

The obsessive personality is a stringent individual with the highest of standards.  They operate with a standardized exactness in all they do. They are the ‘Aunt Mary’s” with the plastic sofa covers and convent standards clean eat off the floor bathrooms. They are always striving for better and nothing is ever quite good enough. The obsessive is the counter-balance to the erotic. The obsessive follows the rules, is self-sufficient, and needs no one. They have a strong values set and follow it. They are the meat-and-potatoes example of rigid stability and standardization.

The narcissist is the team member that takes pride in what they do and wants all to know about it. We currently have a male nurse practitioner on our team who is an erotic personality. He would be highly disappointed if I did not include him in this category and provide him the opportunity to tell all about it and why he is amazing. He is a joy to be around, although can sometimes present as the little brother that prevents me from getting my work done. LOL He is always on stage with his self-directed humor. He is a productive narcissist!

The last but not least is the marketing personality. These people are the go with the flow and let’s get it done. In our current global marketing environment with a high degree of social change you want this person on your team. As lifelong learners they love to grow personally and professionally, as well as emotionally. Facilitators are your team makers and collaborators. If you are working on building capacity in the culture of your organization, you need a marketer.

After some study I realize I am an obsessive marketer. My personality is equally distributed in both. I have a passion for social media and connecting individuals that can collectively achieve great things. I like to introduce two people and get out of the way and see what they create. I seem to apply the criteria of only doing that with those with a high set of standards in mission and values. I also like things just so. I encourage everyone to follow the policy and procedure manual so that we are all on the same page, practicing at the highest level of expertise. In reality I know I am, as we all are, a bit of all four personality styles. Which personality style most resonates for you?

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