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The Bright and Dark Side of Narcissictic Leadership

Barbara Nevicka

Many well-known leaders have narcissistic tendencies or characteristics. Do we tend to favor narcissistic personalities as are leading figures? And why would we do that?

Contemporary Western society, with its emphasis on independence, self-confidence, extraversion and high self-esteem, has witnessed an increase in the prevalence of individuals having excessively positive and inflated self-views (i.e. narcissism). At both the societal and the small group level, such narcissistic tendencies seem to be well-appreciated. Highly narcissistic individuals emerge and are selected as leaders in groups because they appear to possess leadership-relevant characteristics. Because of narcissists’ likely presence in high power positions, it is important to understand their impact on individuals, groups, organizations and society at large. Narcissistic individuals represent a paradox: On the one hand they are self-absorbed, arrogant, oversensitive to criticism and exploitative yet on the other hand they are also perceived as charismatic, persuasive and entertaining. Based on recent research findings, Barbara Nevicka will present a potential bright as well as a dark side of narcissistic leaders.

Barbara Nevicka works as an assistant professor in the department of Work and Organizational Psychology at University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on narcissistic leadership, effects of narcissism on creativity and perspective taking, and reaction of narcissists to threats.

Interesting links - Barbara Nevicka - All I need is a stage to shine: Narcissists' leader emergence and performance - Zie de mannen van hun voetstuk vallen

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