Narcissistic Team Leaders – How a lack of checks and balances tilts the culture scale

research shows that narcissists tend to be attracted to positions of leadership as they are positions of power, so they need to learn to balance selfishness with unselfishness. The egocentric personalities of narcissistic leaders not only disrupt organizational culture, but can also derail an organization and render it unviable.

Let’s define narcissism. The type we are talking about is “grand narcissism,” which is characterized by high self-esteem, egocentricity, a tendency to overestimate one’s abilities, low empathy, over-importance, demands, and unsympathy. This leads to unethical and destructive leadership tendencies.

Narcissistic leaders who lack balance fail to create a safe culture in which their team can thrive. They lack selflessness and the ability to balance power with empowerment.

Be aware of the following issues that may indicate a narcissistic organizational leader.

  1. dissolution of trust.
    Positive leadership is directly linked to trust. It indicates how comfortable employees feel working for the company. If leaders don’t keep their team’s trust, the organization will see low productivity, high turnover, low morale, absenteeism and more negatives that undermine a positive culture and make building a sustainable organization difficult.

    Narcissistic leaders also erode the trust of other stakeholders, including customers/clients and stakeholders. These vital stakeholders, along with the team, give an organization a reason for being. Losing your trust means losing the capital that drives the organization forward. The culture deteriorates as narcissistic leaders put themselves first and not their team or organization.

  2. unethical behavior.
    Immoral action results from a narcissist’s selfish and legitimate behavior. Leaders should be committed to their organization and their team by doing their best to keep that organization viable for the benefit of all shareholders. Conduct that undermines these ethics is immoral.

    In addition, immoral behavior by a manager leads to immoral behavior among employees. research shows that leaders not only set the tone for organizational culture, but that unethical leaders breed unethical employees. If the leader is perceived as unethical, employees are more likely to steal, lie, cheat, and contribute to the toxic culture.

  3. Misperception of others.
    Because narcissism typically involves an element of inflated self-esteem and low trust in others, narcissists tend to believe they have an inaccurate understanding of what others feel, need, and value. They don’t appreciate the diversity of opinions and thoughts and think they know best. Egocentricity cannot empower and motivate employees. Instead, it devalues ​​them. Employees are only seen as cogs in the machine.

    Narcissistic leaders lack emotional intelligence for themselves and others while believing they have excellent social skills. Narcissists overestimate their abilities and have trouble recognizing the abilities of others. They often use manipulation as their tactic to get what they want, leading to the degradation of the organization.

With true emotional intelligence, narcissistic leaders can learn to balance their selfish tendencies with selflessness as they learn to accurately understand themselves, others, and their relationships with others. The leaders who are able to achieve this balance between their narcissistic tendencies and the support and motivation of team members are able to build strong standards of trust and confidence.

Balanced leaders have successful organizations because team members are empowered and motivated and the organizational culture is built on support, trust, and fairness.

Written by Brian Smith.
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