Narcissism Isn’t a Form of Leadership
The definition of narcissistic leadership from Wikipedia:
Narcissistic leadership is a “leadership” style in which the “leader” is only interested in him/herself. Their priority is themselves – at the expense of their people/group members. This “leader” exhibits the characteristics of a narcissist: arrogance, dominance and hostility.
Oh boy! When do I get to learn from and work under someone like this?!
What on Earth would possess someone to think this form of “leadership” will work?
Oh wait, a narcissist thinks so!
“I LOVE to be micromanaged,” said nobody, ever.
Freud said, “Narcissists are emotionally isolated and highly distrustful. Perceived threats can trigger rage. Achievements can feed feelings of grandiosity.”
There’s a great article on Forbes (I believe) that shared a very revealing quote about Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison. One of his executives described Larry in this way –
“The difference between God and Larry is that God does not believe he is Larry.”
Now, clearly Oracle is a world-wide juggernaut and they’ve generated billions upon billions.
But that doesn’t mean you should dream of becoming a narcissist so you can do the same.
You don’t need to.
There are certainly narcissistic qualities or behaviors that live in all of us. Many of the world’s top businesses leaders are somewhat narcissistic in certain ways.
Steve Jobs, Mr. Wonderful, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and many more are or were drivers. They are endlessly on their pursuit of perfection and will stop at almost nothing to achieve it. That’s not always necessarily bad, but if used in the wrong way, it can be disastrous.
When it comes to leading a sales team, narcissistic leaders don’t tend to last very long in one place and their “influence” starts to wear thing relatively quickly.
Last time I checked; most salespeople don’t like being berated. They don’t enjoy being admonished for poor results in public. They don’t respond to threats of losing their jobs.
Cracking the proverbial whip in sales meetings, doesn’t inspire growth. Being a jerk doesn’t incentivize them to want to work hard for you. Condescending behaviors and actions don’t generate feelings of camaraderie and warmth. Last time I checked they still didn’t.
You know what works?
Not being a jerk.
Not threating their jobs.
Not micromanaging their every move.
Not telling them how great you used to be.
Not blasting them in front of their peers for poor performance.
We could go on and on about the seemingly endless examples I’ve seen of narcissistic leaders and surprisingly, none of them want our help!
If you’re not a narcissist and actually believe you can improve, get better, and inspire more effectively and genuinely, look us up!
Steve is the CEO & Founder of Victory Selling and he can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply connect with him on LinkedIn!