So much has been written and said about the Alpha Male—that paragon of maleness every man secretly admires and every woman secretly fancies. The internet is awash with tips on how to transform oneself into an A-type male in a matter of weeks, even days, and promises that once the transformation is complete, the world will become one’s oyster.

Books have been penned dedicated to the Alpha Male Syndrome, as if it is a disease one could catch. But despite all the attention, the Alpha Male remains a tricky code to crack. Just who is the archetypal A-type man? What sets him apart from his equals? Is he what he seems to be, or is there a deeper, darker side to this enigmatic figure? The Alpha Male phenomenon is not entirely new.

Human history is a never-ending saga of alphas— strong, testosterone driven men who conquered nations, waged wars, and built empires. In the animal kingdom, alphas are those who are leaders of the pack, to whom the others abide by and defer. Where a male and female satisfy this role, they are known as the alpha pair who is accorded special privileges.

Chimpanzees, for example, show deference by allowing the alphas to be first in line in a parade; canines show respect by allowing them to eat first. The alpha status is normally attained by brute force; in the higher forms of social animals as humans, however, more subtle methods can be employed to acquire the coveted rank.

People generally fall into different Alpha Male categories depending on the dominant traits they exhibit: Commanders, Visionaries, Strategists, and Executors. Commanders, as the name suggests, commands without dwelling into particulars—they rally troops and mobilize people into action, no questions asked. Visionaries are instinctive and proactive individuals who perceive opportunities where others only see problems.

The Strategists are logical thinkers who have excellent analytical skills while the Executors are goal-oriented machines who carry out plans to the finish, and a stickler for accountability. Whichever category he fits, one defining trait of the Alpha Male is his ability to lead. Programmed to accomplish and unafraid of wading in unfamiliar waters, he is a natural-born leader esteemed by his colleagues and respected by his enemies.

He craves challenges, is tenacious when it comes to pursuing his goals, competitive, driven to succeed and expects the same drive from others. In the business world where cutthroat competition is rife, the A-type male is an indispensable force to be reckoned with. These traits of dynamic leadership, tenacity, and drive are admirable, even desirable; improperly channeled and controlled, however, these very traits that maketh an Alpha man could be his own undoing.

How do these commendable traits become tragic flaws? It is when they are taken to extremes without regard for ethics and for others. The unholy triad of excessive competitiveness, interpersonal intolerance, and volatile anger then emerges. An extremely competitive A-type sees everyone as his adversary, and every situation a fight for dominance.

Those colleagues he sees as his equal he would try to annihilate while those he deems inferior he would bludgeon to submission. His propensity to anger makes for a tense work environment where people obey not out of respect but out of resentment. Dysfunctional Alpha Males tend to believe that they are always right, which can suppress constructive feedback.

Armed with this warped knowledge of self-superiority, they can be destructive in their professional and personal relationships. Clearly, the Alpha Male is not all that he seems to be. Beyond the smooth veneer of confidence, sophistication, and urbanity lies a deeper, darker side. The line that separates the A-type from a mindless, unethical brute is very fine indeed.

If the Alpha Male is to continue leading the pack, he should do well not to cross that line.

Author's Bio: 

The author of this article, Ruth Purple, is a successful Relationship Coach. Learn how you can seduce any man that you fancy with so much ease and subtlety.