Narcissistic leaders are everywhere. Just think of Steve Jobs, Nicolas Sarkozy or Bill Clinton.
Normally we don't share narcissists' self-inflated opinions of themselves, but for leadership it's different. Narcissists know how to radiate all the qualities of a good leader: they have high self-esteem, they are confident and they display authority. Research has shown they seem to automatically take over leaderless groups (Brunell et al., 2008).
But how does a narcissistic leader affect group performance? That's the question Nevicka et al. (2011) ask in a new study published in Psychological Science.
One job of a leader is to help the members of a group communicate with each other. If information is flowing between group members, then better decisions can be made. So, what do narcissists do to information flow amongst group members?
What Nevicka et al.'s study found was that narcissistic leaders actually reduced information sharing among groups, which led to worse group performance.
Crucially, though, this wasn't the perception of the group. The groups thought the narcissists were doing a good job, when actually they weren't (as measured by task performance). This perception is probably dynamic:
"It is possible that over time, group members’ positive impressions of narcissistic leaders decrease. Indeed, previous research has shown that although people’s impressions of narcissists are positive at first, they decline over time (Paulhus, 1998)."
But by then we're stuck with them.
Image credit: Marquette LaForest
The Psychology of Work
→ This post is part of a series on the psychology of work:
- 10 Psychological Techniques to Help You Get a New Job
- 7 Easy Ways to Give Your Résumé the Psychological Edge
- 10 Psychological Keys to Job Satisfaction
- Why Career Planning Is Time Wasted
- Ten Powerful Steps to Negotiating a Higher Salary
- Can You Get Things Done Without Making People Hate You?
- 7 Ways Work Can Make You Physically Sick
- The Problem With Narcissistic Leaders
- 7 Reasons Leaders Fail
- How To Be a Great Leader (in under 300 words)
Making Habits, Breaking Habits
In his new book, Jeremy Dean--psychologist and author of PsyBlog--looks at how habits work, why they are so hard to change, and how to break bad old cycles and develop new healthy, creative, happy habits.
→ "Making Habits, Breaking Habits", is available now on Amazon.Reviews
The Bookseller, “Editor’s Pick,” 10/12/12 “Sensible and very readable…By far the most useful of this month’s New You offerings.”
Kirkus Reviews, 1/1/13 “Making changes does take longer than we may expect—no 30-day, 30-pounds-lighter quick fix—but by following the guidelines laid out by Dean, readers have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns.”
Publishers Weekly, 12/10/12 “An accessible and informative guide for readers to take control of their lives.”