CIO Speak

Are Steve Jobs and Elon Musk narcissists or visionaries? 

Probably they were a bit of both! Is that more of a surprise or a shock? Well, Narcissism is often mistaken for visionary leadership, science shows. According to Stanford Business School’s Charles O’Reilly, gather a group of strangers and ask them to choose a leader and, a startlingly high percentage of the time, they’ll choose the most narcissistic member of the group.

That’s because the confidence and charisma narcissists initially exhibit are easily mistaken for transformational leadership. In fact, they sometimes overlap. But while great leaders and raging narcissists can appear similar at first, the results of hiring a true narcissist are grim.

Studies show that over time a narcissists’ credit-hogging, lack of integrity, and delusional overconfidence lead to a toxic culture, lower performance, and more lawsuits. All this means it’s both easy to fall prey to a narcissist’s charm offensive and that you want to avoid doing so at all costs.

How can you manage to stop yourself from being seduced by egomaniacs? Not taking their word for it. Please feel to suggest any other way from your experience and wisdom.

By Partha Banerjee, Ex-Chief Information Officer at Al Safeer Group of companies.

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