A strong leader in an organization is irreplaceable. Think Apple's CEO Steve Jobs and General Mill's CEO Ken Powell. America's most popular bosses have more than their robust salaries and stellar reputations in common; they are born leaders. When searching for candidates at the C-suite level, recruiters have to learn how to spot a high-achieving narcissist versus a truly effective and successful leader because the two can be indistinguishable in the first interview. There is a fine line between a narcissist and a leader because they are both ambitious, goal-oriented, and driven. Even more interesting, according to psycnet.apa.net, elevated levels of narcissism and self-promotion has been shown to result in quicker promotion early on in a narcissist's career. However, as the narcissist reaches higher levels within an organization, and has more authority, the negative impact on employees, and therefore results, are revealed.
A leader entrusts his or her employees with sharing in the company's bottom line. A leader understands that he/she cannot carry an entire weight of a company's accomplishments or failures on his/her shoulders, and therefore enlists the help of others to share in the responsibility, challenges, and successes of an organization. According to psychcentral.com, a narcissist, on the other hand, has an extreme preoccupation with his/her ego, and puts his/her personal wants and needs first, before the company and its employees. A narcissist is too busy caring about how others perceive him/her rather than focusing on the company's reputation as a whole. So how do you spot a true leader in your pool of candidates to fill an executive role in an organization?
1) A leader encourages others and feels genuinely invigorated by the growth of his or her employees, while a narcissist will feel threatened or insecure when someone else invents a novel solution. A leader will become stronger and more inspired by other people's ideas and actions while the narcissist will remain stifled and frustrated.
2) A leader engages through communication and forges real and lasting relationships with employees at all levels of an organization, whether you are an executive or customer service representative. A narcissist will not care to know anyone's name, and will only demand results--treating employees like numbers rather than real people.
3) A leader promotes other people's successes and attributes credit to others, while a narcissist takes credit for all good work, regardless if he/she had anything to do with it. Does your candidate trump his/her management skills more than his team's accomplishments?
4) A narcissist will act like a hero, vying for everyone's attention, while a leader will naturally become the focus because of his/her's innate charisma and talent.
True leaders become successful because they have both given and received help from their coworkers, friends, and family along the way. When searching to fill that CEO position, do your due diligence, and choose the leader over the narcissist.
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