How a narcissistic leader infects company culture

Narcissists are attracted to power and know how to get it.

They have a deep and sometimes pathological need for admiration and status—in fact, they may feel entitled to it. Unfortunately, because they also exude confidence and have enormous faith in their own vision, narcissists can often talk their way up the chain at an organization and develop a loyal following.

As leaders, however, narcissists often fail. They may act aggressively, but they make bad decisions, paying too much for an acquisition, for instance. Data show their grandiose plans do not boost a company’s performance. And they’re more likely to lead companies that are sued, according to previous research led by Jennifer Chatman, a professor of organizational management at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, who has studied narcissists in the upper echelons of management.

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