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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Is Narcissism Necessary to Lead?


For many years, I have been amazed that narcissistic characteristics can be one's weaknesses (e.g., they cause problems in the workplace, with interpersonal relationships) but also one's strengths (e.g., confidence, the ability try again after a failure).

C. Albert Bardi reviewed Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory by Jerrold M. Post. Bardi states,

My last question, whether the act of finding narcissism in so many highly achieving people is merely a relabeling of ambition and achievement, is also not adequately addressed in this book.  Nevertheless, the question is an insistent one, especially given that in several instances Post uses an individual’s belief that one can lead (or rule) as evidence of narcissism. (para. 6)

So do leaders, even benevolent ones, have to be narcissists to be leaders?   Are these characteristics a strength? 

Read the Review
ReviewNarcissism, Narcissism Everywhere
By C. Albert Bardi
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(31)


Sherry Hamby

I agree that any approach that labels narcissistic traits as all good or all bad is short-sighted. Our greatest strengths are also our weakness for many of us.
I believe in "moderation in all things" and too many of our psychological constructs and measures only assess "more" and "less." Most traits are bad when taken to any extreme. For example, neglectful parenting is bad but so is over-involved parenting.

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Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

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