Episode 22 – Be Alpha

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All being an alpha really means is having an edge that other leaders don’t, having a drive that other leaders don’t and having a tenacity that is absolutely unquenchable and unstoppable.

It’s the combination of all three of these elements – edge, drive and unquenchable and unstoppable tenacity – that gets things done, gets you ahead in business and drives society forward. 

That’s what makes the difference between a mediocre person and an alpha.

In this episode, Mr Machut will discuss how to become an effective alpha leader.
Chris Machut

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Hi everyone, and welcome to another mind-mincing episode of ThoughtLeadership.biz. I’m Chris Machut and in today’s episode we’re deconstructing what it really means to be ‘alpha’.  

It’s fair to say that although the mindset of the alpha leader hasn’t changed for millennia, societal expectations on who they are, who they should be and how they should behave, has – and it’s true for business, too.

That’s precisely why it’s an interesting topic to explore.

What is an alpha leader?

Who is an alpha leader?

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

These are all questions we’ll be wrestling to the ground today in true alpha style.




But let’s start, let’s begin today with a simpler question: What do you think of when I say ‘alpha’? What type of images spring to mind?

If you’re like most people, right now you’ll be thinking of some supercharged, aggressive jackass.

And what if I ask you to think of an alpha leader?

Now you’re probably imagining a douchebag boss, a big-headed bully who throws their weight around and tries to dominate everyone around them.

And in many ways, you’d be right.

Alpha leaders share many traits and are generally seen in a negative light – now more so than ever. But just like everyone else, alphas are complex characters not two-dimensional caricatures, and we can learn a lot from them because channeling your inner-alpha and harnessing its potential has the power to upgrade both yourself and the others in your community or organization.



All being an alpha really means is having an edge that other leaders don’t, having a drive that other leaders don’t and having a tenacity that is absolutely unquenchable and unstoppable.

It’s the combination of all three of these elements – edge, drive and unquenchable and unstoppable tenacity – that gets things done, gets you ahead in business and drives society forward.

That’s what makes the difference between average and alpha. . .




Before we go any further, let me take my usual pitstop and remind you to check out all my newest articles, podcasts and more at ThoughtLeadership.biz, catch me in person on YouTube and listen via Spotify and Anchor.fm. Don’t forget to check me out on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as head on over to Twitter and LinkedIn, where you can subscribe for notifications!





Right then, let’s talk about where this term actually came from and what it really means.

The term ‘alpha’ originated in ancient Greece – those classicists among you will know it’s the first letter of the Greek alphabet.

The idea is that alpha always comes first; it’s always ahead; it’s always leading.

You might be interested to know, too, that the English word ‘leader; comes from the Old English word ‘lithan’, which literally means to ‘go’ or go first. . .

The root of the word is closely associated with the words ‘power’ and ‘command’, but has no association with ‘dominance’. Which is why alpha leadership is different. ‘Leadership’ in itself is not so much about being number one, it’s about leading the way by collaborating effectively with others, which is something many alphas find difficult – or even impossible – to do.

Which is where it can go wrong.




Highly capable, intelligent and successful males make up about 70% of all Senior Execs in the US.

They’re used to being top dogs and want it to stay that way.

These guys are always natural leaders and have an almost superhuman ability to withstand seemingly overwhelming stress, stay focussed on their goals and make things happen even when they seem utterly impossible.

And we’re not just talking about guys here either. Let’s not forget the remaining 30% of alpha leaders – the females.

I’ve met some alpha females who reduce boardroom badasses to big blubbering babies and strike the fear of God into anyone who dares defy them.

I’ve also met some alpha females who are just as opinionated, driven and capable as their male counterparts but are far more clever about getting what they want.

Women at the top of their game are usually just as resilient and comfortable with being in control, but the key difference is that they don’t try to dominate people and situations in the same way as alpha males do. 

For example, instead of excelling in intimidation, they tend to focus on collaboration. And Instead of issuing direct orders on pain of professional death, they often find less confrontational ways to get things done.

So, I’d say us Alpha guys have certainly got a few things to learn from the Alpha girls – if I’m allowed to say that anymore.

Which brings me on to my final point – I guess you could call it a final gripe really. . .


And that’s the ongoing agenda to wussify an entire generation of men.

And yes, I did say ‘wussify’ – it’s a technical term, the verb being ‘wussify’, the noun being ‘wussification’. You should try it, it rolls nicely off the tongue. . .

So, what does it mean to ‘wussify’ a generation I hear you ask?

Well, it basically means the attempt to de-alpharise (and yes, that’s also a word, at least in the Machut dictionary) men so that they conform to more gender-neutral modes of speech and behavior.

It’s no longer okay, apparently, to be an alpha male, as it might offend someone. Which is a shame. And, actually, quite offensive in itself, right?

Now, us Alpha guys are taking a bit of a bashing at the moment, but I gotta tell ya, I feel more sympathetic for the Alpha girls.

In an age of apparent open-mindedness, it’s surprising how much fallout they still get for just being who they are. . .




The reality is that great leadership takes ALL kinds of personality types, including Alpha males AND females. 

But whichever way you cook it, being an alpha’s a tough gig.

Getting the balance right is tough, as being an alpha leader requires you to become a benevolent dictator. . . and that’s an incredibly difficult balance to strike.

It’s not all about dominating people and getting them to do what you want them to do. There needs to be some softer ying with the hard-edged yang.

Ultimately, despite our success and massive confidence in our abilities because of it, to be truly successful as leaders, we have to sometimes be introspective, reflective and reflexive.

Now, that might sound as if I’m straying dangerously into wussification territory, but I’m not.

It’s just a fact.

And alpha doesn’t have to be a hard-nosed jackass all the time. If they are then. . . well, they’re just jackasses.

Top-tier leaders, alpha or not, have to know when to be tough, when to be a leader and when to have compassion.

And sometimes that’s a lesson learned too late. . .




To finish, I’d like to steal the words of possibly the most badass alpha leader of the Roman world: Marcus Aurelius.

When asked about what makes an effective leader, he said this:

“Do not overly exalt yourself. It is true that leaders should take their leadership roles seriously, but not in a way that makes them feel godlike in some way. Remember, you’ve made enough mistakes yourself.” 

And that, in an ancient Italian nutshell, is something that all us alphas should remember.

This is Chris Machut.

Stay safe, stay strong and remember to be alpha out there!


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Episode 22