Narcissism is an unpleasant personality trait—yet one that seems particularly prevalent in our time.
I was thinking this as I reflected on a world of Facebook and other social media and their ‘look at me’ ethos. A world where people seem quite comfortable spending their time taking endless pictures of themselves… the so called ’selfie’.
The Encarta online dictionary defines narcissism as excessive self-admiration and self-centeredness. You have to extrapolate this a little bit further when considering narcissistic leaders. They will have only one priority in the way in which they run things.
I thought I might have invented the term ‘narcissistic leadership’ (which is a bit narcissistic of me!) but a quick look at Wikipedia proves me wrong. Apparently Linda L. Neider and Chester A. Schriesheim in their 2010 publication ‘The Dark Side of Management” already defined narcissistic leadership as being driven by ‘unyielding arrogance, self-absorption and a personal egotistic need for power and admiration.’
Other commentators on the phenomenon of narcissistic leadership include Neville Symington who writes in ‘Narcissism: A New Theory’ that ‘one of the ways of differentiating a good-enough organization from one that is pathological is through its ability to exclude narcissistic characters from key posts.’
Mr Symington is definitely on to something here. If I visit your company and find some narcissistic tendencies at senior management level then I know something fundamental will have to change if things are to improve.
So, are you a narcissistic leader, surrounding yourself with nodding cronies and focused on your own self-aggrandizement? Well… we all know what happened to the original Narcissus, don’t we.
Careful you don’t drown admiring your own reflection.
Tags: admiration chester a schriesheim excessive self admiration exclude narcissistic characters facebook good enough organization linda l neider look at me narcissism narcissistic leader narcissistic leaders narcissistic leadership narcissistic tendencies neville symington nodding cronies own reflection pathological personal egotistic need personality power prevalent self absorption self aggrandizement self centeredness selfie senior management social media the dark side of management themselves. unpleasant personality unyielding arrogance
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