Synonyms. scheming. a cold, scheming villain. cynical. shrewd.
guileful. intriguing. like a snake in the grass. perfidious. perilous.
: of or relating to the belief that a ruler is justified in using any means to stay in power. : characterized by dishonesty or trickery. Machiavellian noun.
Opposite of attempting to achieve one's goals by unscrupulous scheming. ethical. moral. principled. scrupulous.
We've all heard the expression “Machiavellian” as denoting something bad. And this idea comes from the foundations of the book The Prince in which Machiavelli, teaches political leaders of the time how to keep power by any means, including immoral decisions, dishonesty, killing, etc.
Machiavellian personality traits are often associated with low levels of empathy and lack of interpersonal closeness. However, some individuals high on Machiavellian traits have been shown to be skilled at affective-perspective taking and thereby may appear to exhibit an empathic response.
“Machiavellians are sly, deceptive, distrusting, and manipulative. They are characterized by cynical and misanthropic beliefs, callousness, a striving for … money, power, and status, and the use of cunning influence tactics.
This particular combination of dark personality traits is highly damaging and should be met with caution. Machiavellian leaders or coworkers have negative effects on individuals and entire organizations. Therefore, it is vital to understand how Machiavellianism works and what can be done to cope with it.
Machiavellianism is generally interpreted as an immoral doctrine, and so is used as a term of reproach and dishonor. But Machiavelli's arguments have also been seen as recognition of the realities of political life, and so some view Machiavellianism as amoral, objective, or descriptive, rather than immoral.
Those who score high on the scale (High Machs) are more likely to have a high level of deceitfulness and a cynical, unempathetic temperament. Machiavellianism is one of the traits in the dark triad model, along with psychopathy and narcissism.
Common signs and examples of Machiavellianism
Competing with others rather than cooperating. Manipulating others in order to reach their goals. Luring others into wild behaviour to further their own ends. Making plans for personal benefit with no consideration of their effect on other people.
Machiavellian leaders thrive on opportunities to exercise power and fear, but do not appreciate ever being challenged with facts. If you avoid even the simplest dialog with the leadership, you are guaranteeing that the dysfunction will continue.
Fortune and Virtù
Finally, leaders must not rely on luck, Machiavelli wrote, but should shape their own fortune, through charisma, cunning and force. As Machiavelli saw it, there were two main variables in life: fortune and virtù. Virtù (not virtue) meant bravery, power and the ability to impose one's own will.
The term Machiavellian often connotes political deceit, deviousness, and realpolitik. Even though Machiavelli has become most famous for his work on principalities, scholars also give attention to the exhortations in his other works of political philosophy.
He relied on Machiavellian [=devious] tactics to get elected.
People exhibiting high levels of Machiavellianism (Christie and Geis, 1970) are characterized by interpersonal manipulation, such as the use of flattery and deceit, as well as by aloof, cynical, and traditionally amoral viewpoints adopted in order to promote their own goals/interests (Christie and Geis, 1970; Fehr et ...
People with Machiavellian personality tend to be highly intelligent. Consequently, they usually have very ambitious goals to which they dedicate lots of time and effort. They usually focus on taking advantage of other people for their own gain. All of their plans focus on achieving some end that they consider noble.
“A Machiavellian personality is manipulative and strategic,” says Aimee Daramus, a clinical psychologist in Chicago. “When they have a goal, they think through how to achieve it very skillfully, but without any consideration for the feelings of other people involved.”
Machiavellian leaders manipulate and undermine others using cunning and duplicitous methods. They actively work at being viewed as ingratiating towards others so that they are not seen as a threat.
According to Benner, Machiavelli's moral precepts are rooted in his conception of human agency as “bounded” and responsible: he posits that human nature generates a capacity for choice and action that permits people to overcome external forces (such as “fortune”) in order to realize tangible moral goods.
Abstract. Affective coldness is one of the main features of Machiavellianism. Recent studies have revealed that Machiavellians are emotionally detached and that this “affective blunting” is associated with intense feelings, emotional instability, negative emotions, and difficulty in enduring distress.
Machiavelli creates a set of beliefs for gaining, accruing, and keeping power for the times he was living in, regardless of morals, religious proscriptions, and teachings.