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Tips for handling those ‘alpha males’

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in Workplace Communication

“Alpha males”: men who are confident, highly intelligent and successful. Unfair though it may be, they make up about 70 percent of all senior executives.

Here are some tactics for working best with them while minimizing their tendency toward being self-centered and aggressive:

Capture their attention by delivering large amounts of data, which they love.

Conduct 360-degree assessments
in which you ask everyone around them how they like working with the “alpha male.”

Deliver the findings of that assessment in the form of data. You might even provide a bar chart that shows positive traits in green and negative in red. Challenge the alpha male to improve his score in weak areas. In many cases, this can circumvent the defensiveness that many alphas feel when criticized.

—Adapted from “Coaching the Alpha Male,” Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson, Harvard Business Review

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