If you feel like your boss is a total narcissist, you’re probably right.
In an unsurprising result, a University of Illinois and University of Nebraska team found that self-aggrandizing people were more likely to become leaders than normal folks (psychopaths too!). For of the many charming qualities of a narcissist, one of them is a need to feel impact and power–thus the selfie-centric striving.
Narcissism should be seen on a spectrum, says Nebraska management professor and lead author Peter Harms. On one end you’ve got crippling self-doubt, on the other end you’ve got self-worshipping narcissism.
But how do you know you’re working with a narcissist? Let us count the ways.
They play hot potato with their sense of smallness, Malkin says. “Narcissists say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent,” he says. “It’s as if they’re saying, ‘I don’t want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings.'”
Feelings mean you can be touched by friends, colleagues, partners. But to be touched is to be influenced and to be influenced is to have your perfect autonomy undermined–which narcissists hate.
Narcissists also hate to feel like other people’s preferences impact them, since then they’re not “fully independent.” So rather than express their needs, they maneuver people to suit them. Malkin gives a tragic domestic example:
Think of the man who berates his wife when dinner isn’t ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that very moment, he’s forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he’d rather avoid.
Hat tip: the Wall Street Journal