Are you becoming a Narcissistic Leader? Top 10 red flags that you’re in danger of becoming one.

Posted June 1, 2010 in Latest News & Insights

In a previous post, we discussed the slippery slope to narcissism.  We mused “in our current culture of performance at all costs, are we unintentionally building a breed of narcissistic leaders who put results before people and their own needs above all?”  We put the question out on LinkedIn and, based on the responses, here’s our grassroots, non-scientific top 10 list of red flags that should make you stop and look in the mirror (on second thoughts, avoid the mirror and consider getting someone to throw a bucket of cold water on you instead…)

Reg flag #1 – You feel (on the inside, you’re smart enough not to say this out loud) that you deserve ALL the kudo’s regardless of who achieved the goal.  Teamwork?  They couldn’t have done it without YOU!

Red flag #2 – You believe that there’s only one way to do something…YOURS.

Red Flag #3 – Your coaching conversations are always about you. What YOU need to have happen with no regard for the other person’s input or suggestions.

Red Flag #4 – Your people are yessing you to death. Yup… you really are THAT smart about EVERYTHING.  Right.

Red Flag #5 – You see people as a means to an end and are willing to manipulate, lie and “massage the truth” to get what you want done.

Red Flag #6 – You don’t trust anyone to do a good job and are always double-checking their work.  Afterall, no one can do it as well as you can.

Red Flag #7 – You have to be the smartest person in the room (and often secretly find yourself thinking this very thought).

Red Flag # 8 – You can’t take constructive criticism from any level in the organization and only hire or work with people who are not as good as you.

Red Flag #9 – All of your statements start with “I” and end with “me.”

Red Flag #10 – You evaluate other’s performance based on your abilities.  Ie: You are the standard and the reference for how everyone else will be measured!

And the ultimate neon flag of all:  Your office walls are covered with nothing but mirrors… LOL.

And finally, from one of our LinkedIn participants came this response:

“Unclear, but I will give a very funny true example that a business contact told me about the CEO of the company where he used to work.

The CEO of company XYZ had a book of his own quotes professionally printed (hard cover) to the tune of $800k and then gave it to all the employees and customers!”

One of the best ways that you can inoculate yourself against the insidious disease of narcissism is to surround yourself with people who ground you and give you honest feedback.  Visit our website to get the support you need via Mentors, peer groups and a leadership community that will support you every step of the way.

Happy leading!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Comments