When the Boss Loves Himself Most
Try to avoid working for a company with a narcissist at the top.
That’s because narcissistic C.E.O.s tend to overspend on investments and deliver substandard results. On top of that, they are often paid more than their humbler yet better-performing peers, according to a recent study.
Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing the signatures of about 450 chief executives at public companies. The size of a person’s signature is positively associated with many of the traits of narcissism, such as ego, exploitativeness and dominance. Given the data, it appears that the narcissists talked a good game but could not live up to it.
On the whole, the best way to avoid dealing with a narcissist is not to hire one. Some personality tests can spot the signs.
Narcissists may do the most damage at the top, but they can disrupt workplaces at all levels. They possess very little empathy and have grandiose views of themselves, leading to feelings of entitlement and a constant need for admiration. Narcissists are cutthroat and scheming, and tend to dominate the conversation and will do just about anything to be the center of attention, even if it’s negative attention.
On the plus side, some narcissists are very creative and have high energy and a strong desire to get things done. Within certain limits, they can even make good leaders.
A recent paper shows that employee narcissism is on the rise, based on results from a longstanding assessment known as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. One reason could be an increase in excessive parental praise and coddling. Alternatively, a rise in childhood trauma, as families become more fragmented, could also be leading to a rise in narcissistic traits. Given that possibility, try to feel a little compassion toward your ranting narcissistic co-workers — even though they may never feel the same toward you.