Washington, Jan 16: A new study suggests that that the most effective leaders have moderate levels of narcissism.
According to University of Illinois psychology professor and study leader Emily Grijalva, narcissists have an exaggerated sense of their own self-importance, an exaggerated need for others' admiration and a lack of empathy.
"They can be preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of their enormous success, power, attractiveness and intelligence," Grijalva said.
"They are addicted to others' admiration. And in the long term, they're not very good at maintaining positive, interpersonal relationships with others," the researcher added.
Many previous studies have focused on narcissism's relationship with leadership effectiveness, but Grijalva said these results were "relatively inconsistent," with different studies showing "a significant relationship," but, "just in opposite directions."
Because the data were conflicting, Grijalva and her team set out to determine exactly how narcissism is tied to leadership, analyzing the results of previous studies that examined narcissism's relationship with both leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness.
They found that although narcissists are more likely to emerge as group leaders, after a certain point, too much narcissism is likely to undermine a person's effectiveness as a leader.
She said that these negative characteristics include "being exploitative, arrogant and even tyrannical," adding that these attributes "aren't really prototypical of effective leadership."
Study co-author Peter Harms, a professor of management in the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska, said those with moderate levels of narcissism have achieved "a nice balance between having sufficient levels of self-confidence, but do not manifest the negative, antisocial aspects of narcissism that involve putting others down to feel good about themselves."
The study is published in the journal Personnel Psychology. (ANI)