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Do You Know a Narcissistic Leader?

March 13, 2014

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David Thomas’ 2012 book “Behind the Mask” (ISBN 184624935X) claims the following characteristics, whether some or all, describe the narcissist:

  • An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
  • Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
  • A lack of psychological awareness
  • Difficulty with empathy
  • Problems distinguishing the self from others
  • Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults
  • Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
  • Haughty body language
  • Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them
  • Detesting those who do not admire them
  • Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
  • Pretending to be more important than they really are
  • Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
  • Claiming to be an "expert" at many things
  • Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
  • Denial of remorse and gratitude

Should the corporate leader possess these traits, then there is surety about these outcomes:

  • The leader’s vision will be difficult if not impossible to be shared, since it is designed primarily to serve the leader.
  • There is no “team” in “I”.
  • There is no sustainability being sought other than that of the leader’s self.
  • Talent, thus innovation will disappear.
  • Those who remain will the most insecure and timid types, none of who could make the differences needed.
  • Ultimately the corporation will fail and it will be everyone else’s fault – not the leader’s!

If you recognise these traits in your leader – leave!

If you recognise these traits in yourself – you probably aren’t a full narcissist, but you could do with expert help to ensure you do no damage to self and others.

What have you experienced?

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