Narcissism and Leadership

I read an article on Psychology Today entitled “Do Narcissists Make Better Leaders?” (link:, and while I don’t necessarily feel that narcissists do make better leaders, I wasn’t surprised by a few of the key points that I read in the article.

Your income and your ability to get promoted at work often come as a result of your self-promotional skills.  In my opinion, that’s why a narcissist would be promoted to a higher ranking position and/or makes more money than the average employee because of their ability to promote themselves (While it’s great to have quality self-promotional skills, I don’t recommend exaggerating your skillset, but rather I’d suggest putting your skillset in a valuable and positive light that highlights your strengths and value to the company).

One thing that I was happy to see was that the author pointed out that there’s no such thing as someone being a “complete narcissist” or a total “non-narcissist” and that there’s a narcissist continuum of sorts that exists.  It was nice to find this in writing somewhere, because I’ve felt that there’s a continuum for a lot of things in life, not just in regards to narcissism but for all sorts of personality traits.  Furthermore, someone’s personality is all based on your own individual perception.  For example, I’m sure that for the most part most those close to me would tell you I’m not narcissistic at all, but I’m sure I could find a handful of people out there who’ve taken my sarcasm out of context and think I’m actually a massive narcissist.

In the end, narcissists do have some traits that leaders should have, such as being sure of themselves and being persuasive (I use this term ambiguously…I don’t suggest having to persuade people into following your lead, but rather I suggest being able to properly sell them on your vision and ideas).  But where narcissists go wrong is that often times they’re not genuine, and their arrogance and lack of true confidence gets exposed.  I can speak from experience, as I’ve worked firsthand under several narcissists in the past.  While I appreciated their self-confidence at first, in the end I lost respect for their leadership once I recognized their arrogance and lack of true confidence in their own leadership abilities.

When it comes to leadership, you can’t “fake it til you make it,” but rather you actually have to acquire and earn the confidence necessary to lead others.  It sounds corny, but at the end of the day the best version of yourself is the most genuine and authentic version of yourself.


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