Case ID: R0401J     Solution ID: 35406

Narcissistic Leaders The Incredible Pros the Inevitable Cons HBR Classic Case Solution


In the winter of 2000, at the height of the website boom, business pioneers postured for the fronts of Time, BusinessWeek, and the Economist with the aplomb and certainty of demigods. These were an alternate breed from their partners of only 10 or 20 years prior, who disregarded the press and whose remarks were precisely made by corporate PR offices. Such love of the spotlight regularly comes from what Freud called a narcissistic identity, says psychoanalyst and anthropologist Michael Maccoby in this HBR exemplary, initially distributed in the January-February 2000 issue. Narcissists are useful for organizations in uncommon circumstances - those that need individuals with the enthusiasm and setting out to take them in new bearings. In any case, narcissists can likewise lead organizations into calamity by declining to listen to the guidance and notices of their supervisors. It's not generally valid, as Andy Grove broadly put it, that lone the distrustful survive. Most business counsel is centered around the more scientific identity that Freud marked over the top. In any case, suggestions about making cooperation and being more responsive to subordinates won't reverberate with narcissists. Narcissists who want to overcome the limits of their personalities must work as hard at that as they do at business achievement. One arrangement is to locate a trusted sidekick who can call attention to the operational necessities of the narcissistic pioneer's frequently excessively gaudy vision and keep him or her established truly. Another is to take a leap of faith and go into analysis, which can give these pioneers the tools to overcome their sometimes fatal character flaws.

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