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Chapter 30. Using Emotional Intelligence... > The Many Faces of Narcissism

The Many Faces of Narcissism

The most toxic managers are the ones who have narcissistic personality traits: preoccupation with themselves, devaluation of others, entitlement to whatever they wish, and underlying fragile self-esteem that they desperately protect by stepping on others. Skilled, capable narcissistic managers (and even some who are not so capable) become grandiose. Highly ambitious managers with narcissistic traits become ruthless. Narcissistic managers under pressure to cut corners become unethical. If taking risks or hurting others is a thrill, they become antisocial or bullies. Compulsive managers with narcissistic issues become control freaks. Depressed, anxious narcissistic managers can become paranoid and potentially assaultive.

Many people, perhaps most of us, struggle at times with feelings of anger, anxiety, and despair, preferring to do things our own way and wanting things that are not ours to have. Most of us are able to keep these feelings under reasonable control almost all of the time. People with significant narcissistic traits, however, have unusually strong negative feelings as well as weak consciences that let them ignore the needs of others and the rules of society.


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