Do Narcissists Make Good Line Managers?

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Does your boss lack empathy or have a ‘grandiose sense of self importance,’ if so they may be a narcissist and new research in Personnel Psychology has explored the risks, and benefits, of having one as your manager.

From an employers’ perspective, many narcissistic traits mirror attributes considered strong leadership material, such as social dominance, extroversion and high self-esteem. The research team found that these traits, in particularly extroversion, led to a strong link between narcissism and what they called ‘leadership emergence’.

However, while narcissism may help managers get to the top, it may not make them effective leaders. Indeed, being managed by a narcissist is a dangerous business. Employees get very little encouragement, praise or recognition, and narcissistic bosses are known for high turnover in their businesses.

While the team found no positive relationship between narcissism and leadership effectiveness, such a link was reported in self-reports by managers, thereby offering further evidence that narcissists will self-enhance their own leadership achievements.

“Organizations should be wary of creating selection and promotion practices that cater to narcissists’ strengths, such as unstructured interviews; because narcissists can be quite charismatic under conditions of minimal acquaintance,” said Dr. Emily Grijalva.

From: Personnel Psychology

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