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Managing puzzling personalities: navigating between "live volcanoes" and "dead fish"

Author: Kets de Vries, Manfred F. R. INSEAD Area: Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Series: Working Paper ; 98/02/ENT Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 1998.Language: EnglishDescription: 42 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: The objective of this article is to study two kinds of personalities which can be found at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum: hypomanics and alexithymics. People who are hypomanic can be described as high-spirited, self confident and exhilarating, but unpredictable, like a "live volvano". Because of their charm and charisma, such individuals can be higly effective in influencing others. The second group of people presents the opposite picture. Their lack of feeling and emotion may lead to difficulties. In their case emotions are flattened; feelings of zest enthusiasm and passion are nonexistent. The impression they make on others is that of "dead fish". These people seem to be emotionally color blind. In this article the symptoms of hypomania and alexithymia are identified, the interpersonal styles related to these character types are explored the possible causes highlighted and methods of intervention suggested
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The objective of this article is to study two kinds of personalities which can be found at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum: hypomanics and alexithymics. People who are hypomanic can be described as high-spirited, self confident and exhilarating, but unpredictable, like a "live volvano". Because of their charm and charisma, such individuals can be higly effective in influencing others. The second group of people presents the opposite picture. Their lack of feeling and emotion may lead to difficulties. In their case emotions are flattened; feelings of zest enthusiasm and passion are nonexistent. The impression they make on others is that of "dead fish". These people seem to be emotionally color blind. In this article the symptoms of hypomania and alexithymia are identified, the interpersonal styles related to these character types are explored the possible causes highlighted and methods of intervention suggested

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