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NARCISSIST: Why the Best Candidates Don't Always Become Leaders At Your Company...

There are a lot of assumptions out there that Narcissists make the best leaders in your company.  Turns out, narcissists are more likely to become leaders at your company, but not because they are the best fit.  A study last year by University of Nebraska professor Peter Harms had some interesting things to say about Narcissists becoming leaders.

According to the study, notes on which can be found here, Narcissists are more likely to become heads of companies for two reasons:

-They self nominate and self identify more than the average person.  People who aren't extreme narcissists don't raise their hands as much.

The study also says that though narcissists were more likely to attain leadership positions, there was no direct relationship between narcissism and leaders' success.

The research also discovered a nonlinear relationship between narcissism and leader effectiveness using previously un-analyzed data from Hogan Assessment Systems. Specifically, the study found, bosses with either extremely high or extremely low levels of narcissism were poorer leaders.

All things in moderation.  

Seems like a call for quality succession planning that checks over the top ambition when filling leadership positions.  Just because you want it doesn't mean you can have it.

Comments

MattL

Aristotle meets the upside down U curve.

We know that many CEOs who found companies need to be moved aside later because the company needs to change course/focus, and thus, the skillset/personality of the leader may need to change. I wonder how much narcissism plays into that whole equation.

With regards to self-promotion (or lack thereof)
I like requiring people to do a self-eval as part of performance evaluations. It gives the manager more information AND reduces evaluation paperwork. It usually gives the employee a sense of satisfaction when they look back over their accomplishments (btw, I recommend they keep a weekly accomplishments log or it could be a sense of DISsatisfaction based on how good their memory is)

How many of you have seen bosses that have no idea what all their people do day-to-day? Self-evals help with that. OK, veering off topic now.

--Matt

Walter Gassenferth

Very interesting theme in a well explored text. In my opinion two things must be improved in the candidate: Self-knowledge and the half filled of a glass. I can explain better:

All activities or companies on Earth share a resemblance with a glass partially filled: Sometimes they are full enough, or at times, they are just too low on its capacity. When the filled part is dominant, no one looks at the empty part, therefore the possibility of developing or practicing the competence of maintaining the glass reasonably full is missed. It's worse when the glass is half full: Just a small part of people who work on the glass' filling process are satisfied with its filled half, the other part, the majority, are lingering pessimists that curses its empty half.

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