Working Wisdom: quote about advice

Manfred Kets de Vries once said: “CEOs who are neurotic impostors are also likely to become addicted to consulting companies.”

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries (born 1942) is a Dutch psychologist, distinguished professor of leadership development and organizational change at INSEAD, and consultant. He is best known for bringing a different view to the much-studied subjects of leadership and the dynamics of individual and organizational change by combining his knowledge of economics, management and pyschoanalysis.

In his article titled ‘The Dangers of Feeling Like a Fake’ (published in Harvard Business Review in 2005), he writes that, to some extent, we are all impostors, playing roles on the stage of life, presenting a public self that differs from the private self we share with intimates and morphing both selves as circumstances demand. One reason the feeling of being an impostor is so widespread, he claims, is that society places enormous pressure on people to stifle their real selves. With respect to his quote about ‘neurotic CEOs’, he suggests that reassurances provided by ‘impartial’ outsiders compensate for the executives’ feelings of insecurity.

The image below is free for personal and commercial use as long as you do not modify it. Hi-res image available upon request via info(at)

Category: Strategy & Organization