Narcissistic Jerk-Wads Make the Best Leaders, Study Says

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A study conducted by professors at IMD business school, Penn State, and Erlangen-Nuremberg University has led them to conclude that bosses who display narcissistic qualities often perform better than run-of-the mill executives. Frederick Allen, leadership editor of Forbes, writes that the study found "narcissism and hunger for attention lead to innovation and daring decision-making." In addition, 80% of narcissistic leaders believe that Carly Simon has written a song about them.

The study "looked at how 78 CEOs at 33 major American pharmaceutical companies reacted to the emergence of biotechnology between 1980 and 2008." The most interesting part of the process was how they determined whether a chief officer was an egomaniac or not:

They measured their narcissism by counting up how often the CEOs' photos appeared in annual reports, how frequently they were named in press releases, and their cash and non-cash compensation relative to their seconds-in-command.

Are we to expect that these CEOs all had hands-on roles in the formatting and photo editing of their company's annual reports? Maybe the most narcissistic CEOs didn't have their photos plastered everywhere because they thought they looked fat or because they insist their image only be portrayed in the form of an oil painting of them crossing the Alps.

Either way, these factors were correlated to how "fast and intensely the CEOs had adapted to the rise of biotechnology."

"Narcissists see the potential for acclaim where others see excessive risk, but it's by no means always the case that in the end they get to hear the applause they crave," says Professor Enders of IMD, "it's just as easy to picture narcissist CEOs who agressively invest in new technologies that don't pan out so well and who severely harm their firms as a result."

The paper is not available in full yet because it has to undergo peer review, but Frederick Allen says it has already "won the Academy of Management's 2011 Glueck Best Paper Award."

Great, that's going to go straight to the professors' heads.

New Study: Egomaniacs Make the Best Leaders [Forbes]

[@nickgreene][ngreene@villagevoice.com]


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Edward S. Brown
Edward S. Brown

Narcissists and charismatic leaders often are so commonly link, one cannot determine where one personality trait ends and the other begins. While all narcissists are not charismatic, it is believed that all charismatic leaders have some form of narcissism greater than the average individual. The hard-wiring of narcissists is highly Machiavellian in that they have “changeable” or mutable consciences. Instead of being tied to a specific method of getting things accomplished, narcissists change their minds and paradigm according to the needs of the situation. Consequently, narcissists are difficult to pigeon hole, because they adapt to a situation for the sole purpose of winning. As Vidal Gore once stated, “It’s not enough to win, the other guy has to lose.” This will to achieve is believed to stem from early childhood experiences of degradation that positioned the narcissist to excel at all cost. Lubit (2002) asserts that narcissists are inclined to leave projects unfinished once they become bored. Conversely, Fleming (N.D.) contends that charismatic leaders become inextricably tied to a project. So much so that the challenge is motivating the charismatic leader to leave or delegate power rather than remain, once the mission has been accomplished. Charismatic narcissists are often more persistent than the average individual based on the need to achieve. This drive is a benefit for organizations in that the charismatic will stay the course until the task is accomplished or deem the challenges unwinnable. As noted earlier, the downside is the unwillingness for charismatics to leave or create a succession plan once a goal has been achieved. Evidence also suggests that charismatic narcissists will abdicate the mission or forego alliances if persisting acts contrary their self-interest.All in all, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial in creating an innovative, fast paced and groundbreaking environment for employees. Their “Big Picture” sentimentalities allow for individuals to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. For charismatic narcissists, accomplishing a grandiose mission becomes the driving force of their existence.As demonstrated by musician Prince, Hitler and Stalin, the mission is so critical for vainglorious and self-aggrandizing measures, anyone who poses either a threat or ceases to be valuable will be eliminated. Charismatic narcissists are persistent in their endeavors and will unload any “baggage” at will. In their minds, they are indispensable where everyone else is expendable. For organizations wrestling with charismatic narcissists, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of this type of leadership. For organizations that are receding, irrelevant and complacent, charismatic narcissists can be valuable for jump starting the organization. The cautionary note is to have parameters, boundaries and oversight to the actions of charismatic narcissists. Not to have some measure of control is fodder for the charismatic narcissists to wreak havoc on the long term aspirations of the mission. Like fire, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial for building an organization or they can obliterate everyone and everything around them if left unchecked.  Edward BrownCore Edge Image & Charisma Institutehttp://www.core-edge.comReferencesFleming,G.(N.D.). Student leadership styles: Charismatic leadership. About.com guide. Retrieved from: http://homeworktips.about.com/..., R. (2002), ‘The Long-Term Organizational Impact of Destructively Narcissistic Managers’, Academy of Management Executive, Volume 16, Number 1, pp. 127–138.

Edward S. Brown
Edward S. Brown

Narcissists and charismatic leaders often are so commonly link, one cannot determine where one personality trait ends and the other begins. While all narcissists are not charismatic, it is believed that all charismatic leaders have some form of narcissism greater than the average individual. The hard-wiring of narcissists is highly Machiavellian in that they have “changeable” or mutable consciences. Instead of being tied to a specific method of getting things accomplished, narcissists change their minds and paradigm according to the needs of the situation. Consequently, narcissists are difficult to pigeon hole, because they adapt to a situation for the sole purpose of winning. As Vidal Gore once stated, “It’s not enough to win, the other guy has to lose.” This will to achieve is believed to stem from early childhood experiences of degradation that positioned the narcissist to excel at all cost. Lubit (2002) asserts that narcissists are inclined to leave projects unfinished once they become bored. Conversely, Fleming (N.D.) contends that charismatic leaders become inextricably tied to a project. So much so that the challenge is motivating the charismatic leader to leave or delegate power rather than remain, once the mission has been accomplished. Charismatic narcissists are often more persistent than the average individual based on the need to achieve. This drive is a benefit for organizations in that the charismatic will stay the course until the task is accomplished or deem the challenges unwinnable. As noted earlier, the downside is the unwillingness for charismatics to leave or create a succession plan once a goal has been achieved. Evidence also suggests that charismatic narcissists will abdicate the mission or forego alliances if persisting acts contrary their self-interest.All in all, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial in creating an innovative, fast paced and groundbreaking environment for employees. Their “Big Picture” sentimentalities allow for individuals to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. For charismatic narcissists, accomplishing a grandiose mission becomes the driving force of their existence.As demonstrated by Prince, Hitler and Stalin, the mission is so critical for vainglorious and self-aggrandizing measures, anyone who poses either a threat or ceases to be valuable will be eliminated. Charismatic narcissists are persistent in their endeavors and will unload any “baggage” at will. In their minds, they are indispensable where everyone else is expendable. For organizations wrestling with charismatic narcissists, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of this type of leadership. For organizations that are receding, irrelevant and complacent, charismatic narcissists can be valuable for jump starting the organization. The cautionary note is to have parameters, boundaries and oversight to the actions of charismatic narcissists. Not to have some measure of control is fodder for the charismatic narcissists to wreak havoc on the long term aspirations of the mission. Like fire, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial for building an organization or they can obliterate everyone and everything around them if left unchecked.

Edward BrownCore Edge Image & Charisma Institutehttp://www.core-edge.comReferencesFleming,G.(N.D.). Student leadership styles: Charismatic leadership. About.com guide. Retrieved from: http://homeworktips.about.com/..., R. (2002), ‘The Long-Term Organizational Impact of Destructively Narcissistic Managers’, Academy of Management Executive, Volume 16, Number 1, pp. 127–138.

Edward S. Brown
Edward S. Brown

Narcissists and charismatic leaders often are so commonly link, one cannot determine where one personality trait ends and the other begins. While all narcissists are not charismatic, it is believed that all charismatic leaders have some form of narcissism greater than the average individual. The hard-wiring of narcissists is highly Machiavellian in that they have “changeable” or mutable consciences. Instead of being tied to a specific method of getting things accomplished, narcissists change their minds and paradigm according to the needs of the situation. Consequently, narcissists are difficult to pigeon hole, because they adapt to a situation for the sole purpose of winning. As Vidal Gore once stated, “It’s not enough to win, the other guy has to lose.” This will to achieve is believed to stem from early childhood experiences of degradation that positioned the narcissist to excel at all cost. Lubit (2002) asserts that narcissists are inclined to leave projects unfinished once they become bored. Conversely, Fleming (N.D.) contends that charismatic leaders become inextricably tied to a project. So much so that the challenge is motivating the charismatic leader to leave or delegate power rather than remain, once the mission has been accomplished.

Charismatic narcissists are often more persistent than the average individual based on the need to achieve. This drive is a benefit for organizations in that the charismatic will stay the course until the task is accomplished or deem the challenges unwinnable. As noted earlier, the downside is the unwillingness for charismatics to leave or create a succession plan once a goal has been achieved. Evidence also suggests that charismatic narcissists will abdicate the mission or forego alliances if persisting acts contrary their self-interest.All in all, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial in creating an innovative, fast paced and groundbreaking environment for employees. Their “Big Picture” sentimentalities allow for individuals to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. For charismatic narcissists, accomplishing a grandiose mission becomes the driving force of their existence.

As demonstrated by Prince, Hitler and Stalin, the mission is so critical for vainglorious and self-aggrandizing measures, anyone who poses either a threat or ceases to be valuable will be eliminated. Charismatic narcissists are persistent in their endeavors and will unload any “baggage” at will. In their minds, they are indispensable where everyone else is expendable.

For organizations wrestling with charismatic narcissists, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of this type of leadership. For organizations that are receding, irrelevant and complacent, charismatic narcissists can be valuable for jump starting the organization. The cautionary note is to have parameters, boundaries and oversight to the actions of charismatic narcissists. Not to have some measure of control is fodder for the charismatic narcissists to wreak havoc on the long term aspirations of the mission. Like fire, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial for building an organization or they can obliterate everyone and everything around them if left unchecked.

References

Fleming,G.(N.D.). Student leadership styles: Charismatic leadership. About.com guide. Retrieved from: http://homeworktips.about.com/...

Lubit, R. (2002), ‘The Long-Term Organizational Impact of Destructively Narcissistic Managers’, Academy of Management Executive, Volume 16, Number 1, pp. 127–138.

Laidbacklaughter
Laidbacklaughter

Lack of empathy and crushing those in your path to get what YOU want, makes such good leadership qualities. it is never enough to fulfill their delusional egos and society PAYS!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I believe that personality disordered leaders are very poor leaders in the long run. A good example is the USA. Our leaders ran it into the ground faster then any other country.

Another example is to say that abuse is just part of human nature. The key word there is Part. It is only part of nature. It is a negative and destructive part of nature. It has been observed in colonies of monkeys that the abusive alpha males beat the other monkeys up, and the entire colony was miserable and suffering. The alphas found a place where humans left their leftover food scraps, pieces of meat, and the alphas venomously defended the food scraps. Until they ate scraps that were moldy and maggoty, the alphas got sick and died. The new male monkies then assumed the alpha role, but they learned to keep the colony healthy they should not be abusive morons. The colony learned and they were healthier and happy.

Abuse is a curse. Abuse is a curse. If your family does they are dark, cursed, and evil has been passed along like a demonic seed. Abuse is poison. Abuse is hate. Abuse is total ignorance carried out on purpose.

Alexandar
Alexandar

I'm a psychopath, I eat narcissists for breakfast and ego maniacs for a mid morning snack. They might be leaders but I rule the world.

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