Narcissism and Leadership
Narcissism is excessive self involvement, vanity, ego centrism and lack of regard for others. Narcissism and Leadership: Narcissists are more likely to become leaders as they generally possess vision and the ability to attract and inspire followers. There is without a doubt a dark side to narcissism but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a useful trait. Sigmund Freud, when describing narcissists, wrote that “People of this type impress others as being ‘personalities’.” “They are especially suited to act as support for others, to take on the role of leaders, and to give a fresh stimulus to cultural development or damage the established state of affairs.” He tempered this description however by pointing out that narcissists are emotionally isolated and highly distrustful. Perceived threats can trigger rage while achievements can feed feelings of grandiosity. They listen only for the type of information they seek and don’t learn easily from others. They don’t like to teach but prefer to make speeches and indoctrinate. Examples of narcissistic leaders include Donald Trump, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. Dealing with Narcissists: Business is all about making deals and according to Ann Frost, Associate Professor at Ivy Business School, narcissists love to win so you will do better dealing with them if they think they have won. It pays to understand how to negotiate with narcissists as we often have to deal with egotistical people whether we want to or not.
- Listen to them
- Explain your role in helping them get what they want
- Provide positive reinforcement