Narcissistic Leaders definition

Narcissistic leaders are those who are concerned only with their own self-actualisation, social standing and place in the world – they are self-absorbed and take actions to improve these factors, even if it’s at the expense of other people.

Narcissistic leadership can be toxic to organisational success as decisions are made based on the individual’s own needs rather than those of the organisation. This damaging effect is more acute if the leaders are senior, as the types of decisions they make have more potential to hurt the organisation.

In corporate situations, narcissistic leaders will surround themselves with co-dependents who are used to help the narcissist achieve his or her agenda. Without these ‘cronies’ there may be too much organisational oversight for narcissistic leaders to be able to push forward with their own agenda.

Some theorists differentiate between healthy narcissists and destructive narcissists – in this arena the differentiation is typically where the individual lies on a sliding scale on particular qualities e.g. whether they merely enjoy power to a greater extent that the average individual or whether they crave power so badly that everything they do is geared towards acquiring more of it. 

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