Machiavellian Personality Traits: What Does It Mean To Be Machiavellian?

Last Update on May 8, 2023 : Published on May 8, 2023

Which name or person strikes your mind first when I ask you to think about a personality that is charming, assured, flattering, and intellectual?

Have you ever noticed the other side of them? Are they self-obsessed, cruel, or manipulative at the same time?

If your answer is yes, you might be dealing with a Machiavellian personality.

We often meet manipulative co-workers in the workplace who are so smart, creative, full of ideas, and intellectual in the beginning…slowly they pull you into their thinking, and after some time, you get to understand their other side which is manipulative or self-obsessed!

That’s exactly what Machiavellianism’s personality looks like! But, there’s so much to add to this personality type. In this blog, let us explore Machiavellian personality traits in psychology.

This blog explores:

  • What is Machiavellianism Personality?
  • Traits of a Machiavellian Personality
  • Common behaviors of Machiavellian
  • Dealing with a Machiavellian Personality in Workplace and Relationship

So, let us begin by understanding what a Machiavellian personality is.

What is a Machiavellianism Personality?

Per psychology, a Machiavellian personality trait revolves around strategic and manipulative behavior. A Machiavellian personality may do whatever it takes to reach a goal; you will always find them achieving goals using their traits and skills. They are not likely to think about the feelings of people involved in the goal. They constantly use their manipulation tactics (be it exploitation or deception) to seek what they want.

Psychologically, Machiavellianism can affect anyone but it is more commonly seen in men. Dealing with a Machiavellian personality is like getting attracted by their engaging and charming behavior in the beginning and seeing their other un-empathetic side in the other days.

They are different from narcissistic personalities as they are quite clear about their goals and they reach the goals without seeking someone’s attention or being a center of attraction. After knowing all of this, you might still get too attracted by their charming nature.

Their ideology is different from other personality traits because they enjoy being the string-pullers instead of being the dancing puppet! In the next section, let’s explore the traits of a Machiavellian personality.

Traits of a Machiavellian Personality

Below are some of the common signs of a Machiavellian personality:

1. Calculated and cynical views of others: Calculated, cynical, or pessimistic view of others is one of the common signs of a Machiavellian personality.

2. Lack of empathy: People with Machiavellian personality lacks empathy, they don’t generally associate themselves with others’ feelings or emotions. They never focus on thinking about how their actions will impact others in a social setting.

3. Obsessed with goals: Machiavellian personality is obsessed with goals, money, power, and fame. They can do anything willingly to seek what they want. No matter if the process hurts the morals, rules, or feelings of others.

4. Manipulative behavior: Machiavelli people are really good at manipulating others. However, they are not good at building cooperative or social relationships.

5. Great plan plotters: Machiavelli people are great doers, they believe in doing versus thinking or sabotaging. They are great at plotting and reaching goals.

6. Problem-forming relationships: Machiavellian people experience difficulty in forming close relationships with people. Their traits often lead to conflicts, abuse, co-dependency, and dysfunctionality in the relationship.

7. Power-seeking intentions: Machiavellian personality is not at all attention-seeking but power-seeking, they like being recognized or praised by people at powerful positions. They can do anything to reach the corporate ladder.

8. Emotionally shallow: Machiavelli people are generally out of touch with their emotions, this trait also applies to a dark triad personality which signifies unemotional, shallow, or cold behavior.

9. Inconsistent success at manipulating people: Machiavelli’s personality is good at manipulating others but not all of them are good, some experience difficulty at plotting their ways to manipulate people and indirectly they build up so many enemies at the workplace.

10. Competitive and ambitious: Machiavellians are highly competitive and ambitious, they are great at using tactics that can control or manipulate others. To seek advantage of people, they are ready to take a back seat, stay silent, or show their team-leading capabilities when needed.

Machiavellian Personality Traits

Common Behaviors a Machiavellian Is Engaged at Workplace

Below mentioned are some of the common traits of a Machiavellian personality:

  • Constant belief in their judgments and hard work
  • Constantly lying to achieve a goal or for their own gain
  • Disconnection from emotions, feelings, and thoughts
  • Extreme focus on their interests and goals
  • Exploits or manipulate others to achieve a goal
  • Lack of empathy, trust, and genuineness
  • Lack of expressing or identifying feelings in front of others
  • Lack of social expressions but willingly reads people and social situations to seek advantages of others
  • Negative thoughts related to everything
  • Pessimistic view of others
  • Thinking they are superior to others
  • Using charm or flattery language to seek advantage from others
  • Well-planned priorities (success, money, power, and fame) above everything else

Dealing with a Machiavellian Personality in Workplace and Relationship


Here’s how you can deal with a Machiavellian personality in a relationship:

  1. Your emotional needs might not get fulfilled in a relationship before you become the part of their gaslighting behavior, start trusting your intuitions and work on your inner self.
  2. Work on self-compassion and practice self-care regularly.
  3. Try to increase connection or bond with them, so that they can understand your affection towards them and do not outplay your feelings.
  4. Avoid interdependent relationships; instead, try to be more mindful.
  5. Set clear and firm boundaries so that they can avoid their manipulation tactics on you.


Here’s how you can deal with a Machiavellian personality at the workplace:

  1. Recognize their Machiavellian personality traits and avoid being trapped.
  2. Do not take their behavior personally instead work on yourself.
  3. Prioritize self-care at the workplace to take care of your emotions, feelings, and thoughts
  4. Limit your interaction and work on your goals.
  5. Trust people who support you.

I hope this blog helps you understand Machiavellian personality traits and how to deal with a Machiavellian personality type. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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