Cutting-Edge Leadership

The best in current leadership research and theory, from cultivating charisma to transforming your organization

Are All Leaders Narcissists?

Narcissism can help a leader do extraordinary things, but it can also take the leader "over a cliff." Is narcissism a pre-requisite for effective leaders, or is it the "dose" that matters? Read More

Well, think about it...

The President of the United States is the most important and powerful human being on Earth... or close to it.

How many ordinary people would look at that job description and say, "Sounds like I'd be perfect for the role. I myself am THE ideal choice to be the msot powerful person on Earth?"

When you look at it that way, well, even if we like or admire the person who becomes President, isn't it pretty obvious that the President (and everyone who sought the job unsuccessfully) MUST have an enormous ego?

People who DON'T have huge egos wouldn't seek the job in the first place. Such people may have all kinds of admirable traits and outstanding abilities, but they'd almost HAVE to be borderline narcissists.

i think you'd have to look at

i think you'd have to look at people's internal drive/motivation. Are they in it solely for fame and self interests -- make corporations and stakeholders richer at the expense of the oppressed? Or are they in it because they want to create a brighter future for everyone and not leave anyone behind? Are their ideas/agenda balanced, RESPECTED?

Narcissists will continue to be at the helm and they will replace themselves with other narcissists (who don't question their motives), until our idea of what leadership looks like changes. I think it is terribly outdated for the 21st century.

"Moreover, leaders with too

"Moreover, leaders with too much narcissism begin to believe that they are above the law. The rules that govern others don’t apply to them..."

Rules and empathy do not apply to them, that's for "ordinary people"...people whom they LOOK DOWN as subordinates or less than them; even when they rank no higher these people. Narcissists are entitled, spoiled people who pretend they understand the meaning of "team work".

I was at this business seminar over the summer, and attendees sat at these large, round tables -- the keynote speaker had us try this "collaborate exercise"; whereby we were provided with these heavy duty, 2" nails and our objective was to hold all of the nails together with ONE SINGLE NAIL. It looked to be an impossible feat. The lady on my left tried it, unsuccessfully...she then passed the nails to me. I had the nails all of two seconds, then this young (white) woman to my right snatched them out of my hands!!! HOW RUDE!!! How disrespectful! She had them the longest, and passed them to someone else instead of returning them to me so that I can have the rightful chance to attempt at this exercise.

The keynote speaker, later on, asked us why we were the seminar. The young woman on my right, said that she wanted to be "IN CHARGE". She was opening a clothing store. Hopefully she doesn't treat her employees like crap the way she had treated me there.


She will...

Yes, narcissism is a bad

Yes, narcissism is a bad thing. No, it does not help anyone do anything good. This society is normalizing it, though. I hear people ask what is going wrong in western society and the answer is the increase in narcissism and psychopathy and the acceptance of them. Oh well.

leader wanted.

anyone who strives to be a leader is the one that probably shouldn't be. that's presidents, judges, whoever...
the best leaders are the ones who don't want the job.

Narcissism, true narcissism,

Narcissism, true narcissism, can be incredibly painful for the people around the narcissist. I speak from long experience. I grew up with two of them for parents, and I worked with many narcissists at one job until I finally left. Narcissists tactics come in all forms, but they can be bullies, self-centered, destructive, and unkind.

I agree with the commenter above, that anyone who wants to lead should not be allowed to. Leadership should be thought of as a SERVICE. People who think of leadership as a service, and who genuinely strive to serve, are effective the leaders. The others may get stuff done, but there is a path of destruction behind them.

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Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.


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