Eight Leadership Archetypes In Gaming

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Sudhir H. Kal takes a look at the eight archetypes that typify the best leaders in the global gaming industry.

In March 2018, I published an article in Inside Asian Gaming called, Gaming and the nine intelligences in which I briefly discussed the nine kinds of intelligences put forward by the Harvard psychologist, Howard Gardner. I then identified nine senior executives in our industry who I thought exemplified each kind of intelligence. This article received an excellent response, and to this day I still field comments about it from avid IAG readers.

Fast forward to March 2021. I have not really met any senior executive in the past 12 months thanks to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and casino closures in various countries. This year gave me time for contemplation and reminiscing, and I began to piece together the leadership styles of various senior leaders I have either met over the years or have heard a great deal about. I am a passionate student of archetypes, so I thought it would be a great idea to look at the leadership archetype of some industry leaders in gaming.


Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, a Dutch management scholar and psychoanalyst, has spent decades studying executives from all over the world and their patterns of behavior. These observations have led him to discover eight distinct archetypes of leadership, which are based on a number of recurring patterns of behavior that influence an individuals effectiveness within an organization. Here is a brief description of the eight archetypes Kets de Vries uncovered.


To ensure accuracy in depiction of the eight archetypes, I read several published articles about each archetype and did an exhaustive memory scan to find names within the casino industry that would exemplify each type. Having arrived at eight well-prominent names, I discussed my list with a couple of industry veterans who voiced their agreement or disagreement under conditions of anonymity. Here then is my final list linking each archetype to a leader in gaming.

As mentioned earlier, my assessment of the individuals mentioned is based on informed guess and validation by two knowledgeable executives. If anyone mentioned above reads this article and does not agree with my categorization, please do let me know. As for other readers, what do you think is your archetype?

For those wanting to pursue this topic seriously, there is a 48-question Leader Archetype Questionnaire (LAQ) designed by Kets de Vries for diagnosing leadership archetypes.

Delving into archetypes is fun and a great way to know oneself and thereby relate to others in an authentic manner. However, I have one caveat to offer. Just because a you have a particular archetype does not mean that you are limited by the characteristics of that archetype. It is always possible to imbibe strengths and behaviors of other archetypes through practice and mindfulness. By so doing, you will be able to practice true situational leadership.