Narcissism May Be A Helpful Trait In High-Profile Careers

Narcissism May Be A Helpful Trait In High-Profile Careers

Most of us hope to ascend some kind of ladder in our careers. However, as some new research suggests, if you want to reach the very top, you may need a dash of narcissism.

Researchers at Emory University did an analysis of 42 United States Presidents and found that grandiose narcissism was strongly associated with high ratings from historians of their overall presidencies.

Grandiose narcissism is characterised by an extroverted, self-aggrandizing, domineering and flamboyant personality.

Presidents with narcissist traits also scored high on public persuasiveness, crisis management, risk-taking, winning the popular vote and initiating legislation.

Of course, the lesson clearly shouldn’t be that being self-absorbed is inherently good, but it’s been speculated before that high-profile jobs tend to draw the self-aggrandising. If nothing else, it’s a solid indicator of the competition you’ll face if you want to move that far up in a particular career path. That being said, being narcissistic tendencies that could help in a prominent job might come at a cost.

In High Places, Some Narcissism May Be OK [Psych Central]


  • Agree with WillD and a couple of other good eye openers are:
    Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to work
    Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

  • This is an ill-researched and irresponsible piece of journalism. Narcissism may be a trait that causes some individuals to get ahead in the organisational jungle, but it is ALWAYS at a significant cost to others. At the base of all Narcissism is an absence of empathy for others. The Narcissist doesn’t care who gets hurt or disadvantaged as long as she or he gets ahead. Narcissists are NEVER good leaders or appropriate role models for ethical organisations. Narcissism is a serious psychopathology, is virtually impossible to treat or change and good leaders will be adept at spotting it early on in their staff and removing these people from their organisation, no matter what the short term cost. Anyone who has any delusion that narcissistic traits are in any way a good thing has never experienced what it is like to work with or for a Narcissist. Howie and WillD (above) highlight three relevant books–but do note that narcissists and psychopaths are not entirely interchangeable, though there are many commonalities.

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