Illuminating and applying “the dark side”: Insights from elite team leaders

Andrew Cruickshank, Dave Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to socially desirable behaviors, recent work has implied that effective elite team leadership also relies on socially undesirable behaviors. Accordingly, this study aimed to further explore the authenticity of dark side leadership behaviors, what they look like, and how they may be best used. Via interviews with 15 leaders, behaviors associated with Machiavellianism/mischievousness, skepticism, social dominance, and performance-focused ruthlessness were found. Moreover, these behaviors were enabled by leaders? sociopolitical awareness and engineering as well as their adaptive expertise. Findings promote practitioner sensitivity to dark side leadership and, for leader effectiveness, sociopolitical and temporal features of its application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-267
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date19 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015


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