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Tapping into the power of humble narcissism

The humble narcissist

Researchers studied whether customer service employees were more productive under narcissistic or humble leaders.

The least effective bosses were narcissists. Humble bosses were a bit more productive. But the best leaders were a combination: the humble narcissists.

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Tapping into the power of humble narcissism

Tapping into the power of humble narcissism

https://ideas.ted.com/tapping-into-the-power-of-humble-narcissism/

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Key Ideas

The humble narcissist

Researchers studied whether customer service employees were more productive under narcissistic or humble leaders.

The least effective bosses were narcissists. Humble bosses were a bit more productive. But the best leaders were a combination: the humble narcissists.

Narcissist and humble leaders

Narcissists believe they're unique and superior, while humble leaders know they're flawed. 

The humble narcissist has grand ambitions but doesn't feel entitled to them. He is also willing to acknowledge his weaknesses and learn from his mistakes.

Narcissism and confidence

We're all drawn to someone who shows confidence - that is the reason that narcissists are more likely to be promoted or get elected to political office. But on its own, narcissism is dangerous. It tends to promote overconfidence and it dismisses the criticism.

Adding humility to narcissism prevents capriciousness and complacency. It helps you remember that you’re human.

Humility about your ideas

Admitting the flaws of your ideas makes it tougher for others to come up with their own objections, often resulting in proposing solutions to your problems.

Yet, when we pitch ideas, we worry that they're fragile and we don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot. When we acknowledge our limitations, we seem more credible and trustworthy.

Performance humility

Performance humility is admitting that you fall short and make mistakes.

Those who seek negative feedback get better performance reviews. It means that they want to learn, and they put themselves in a stronger position to learn.

Cultural humility

When we focus on hiring people who fit the culture, we end up with people who are similar to us. That prevents the diversity of thought and background.

Cultural humility means recognizing that your culture has room for growth. It's the humility to hire people who will stretch and enrich the culture that may miss certain elements.

Success and the narcissist

The humble narcissist believes they can do extraordinary things but know they always have something to learn.

Even if you don’t start your career as a narcissist, success can make you over-confident. Maintaining humility requires you to have people around you that keep you accountable and are willing to tell you the truth.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Narcissists

They have inflated views of themselves (they think they are better than they actually are).

They make fantastic first impressions. But the stuff that works for narcissists so well in the sho...

Don't deal with them

Narcissists lack empathy, they usually don’t work hard, and in a few weeks to a few months, they make the people around them miserable. And narcissism is very hard to change. So, if at all possible, just stay away.

Kiss Up Or Shut Up

Clinical psychologist Al Bernstein recommends you kiss up to them or at least keep your mouth shut until you can get out of there.

There’s this concept called “narcissistic injury.” Pointing out a narcissist isn’t all they think they are can be like pulling the pin on a grenade. A grenade you have to see every day of your life.

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Superiority and entitlement

The world of the narcissist is all about good/bad, superior/inferior, and right/wrong. There is a definite hierarchy, with the narcissist at the top—which is the only place he feels safe. 

Exaggerated need for attention

Narcissists need constant attention—even following you around the house or constantly saying something to grab your attention. 

Despite all their self-absorbed, grandiose bragging, narcissists are actually very insecure and fearful of not measuring up. They constantly try to elicit praise and approval from others to shore up their fragile egos, but no matter how much they've received, they always want more.

Perfectionism

Narcissists believe they should be perfect, you should be perfect, events should happen exactly as expected, and life should play out precisely as they envision it. 

The demand for unattainable perfection leads the narcissist to complain and be constantly dissatisfied.

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Inability to distinguish

We tend to assume that confident people have more potential for leadership. 

However, there is little overlap between how good people think they are at something, and how good the...

Charismatic individuals

We seem to want leaders who are charming and entertaining, but a stand-up comedian is not the same as an effective leader.

The best leaders are humble rather than charismatic, to the point of being boring.

Narcissistic individuals

We've always admired famous people, but our admiration for people who admire themselves is on the rise. But true leaders keep their narcissism in check.

Popular advice focuses on loving yourself above all else. And this creates leaders who are unaware of their limitations. They see leadership as an entitlement. 

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Identify your passion

Everyday leadership begins with a passion and a mission. Ask yourself: “What am I passionate about? How can I turn that passion into a mission?”

Once you identify your pass...

Listen

Try listening more than you speak. Listen to experts and fellow enthusiasts, including those with whom you disagree. Absorb their perspectives, insights, and experiences.

From listening to others, we can gather valuable insights from both their successes and their failings.

You have a voice. Share it

But remember that using your voice as an everyday leader comes with a responsibility.

When sharing your opinion—in-person or via social media—be clear, be concise, and be constructive. That is the best way to be heard.

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Humble Leaders

Research shows that humble leaders improve the performance of a company, creating more collaborative environments. They are balanced, appreciative and open to new ideas and feedback. They kn...

Charismatic Leaders

Charismatic professionals execute a certain magnetism and presence that automatically lead others to endorse them as leaders.

They have high levels of energy, unconventional behaviour and seem to be doing heroic deeds. We seem to be hardwired to seek and endorse over-glorified 'Superhero' like leaders.

Narcissist Leaders

Charismatic leaders can also be narcissists in some cases, having self-serving and grandiose intentions, taking advantage of their followers and abusing their power.

Even though they are generally perceived as arrogant, their bold vision and fearless attitude make them radiate an image of effective leaders, making them a high-risk, high-reward proposition.

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Inspiration alone is not enough
Inspiration alone is not enough

Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the masses but a...

Inspiring leaders

The leaders that inspire are those who use a personal combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions and to hold them accountable for results.

And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not thorough command and control.

Becoming an Inspiring Leader
  • You only need centeredness: a state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathize, listen deeply, and remain present.
  • Your key strength has to match how your organization creates value.
  • You have to behave differently if you want your employees to do so.
Feeling included in organizations
Feeling included in organizations

What leaders say and will contribute up to 70 % to whether an individual will feeling included. 

The more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collabor...

Traits inclusive-leaders share
  • They articulate an authentic commitment to diversity, challenge the status quo, hold others accountable, and make diversity and inclusion a personal priority.
  • They are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.
  • They show awareness of personal blind spots, as well as flaws in the system.
  • They demonstrate an open mindset and deep curiosity about others.
  • They are attentive to others’ cultures and adapt as required.
  • They empower others and focus on team cohesion.
The most important trait

If a leader wants to know what is the most important trait, commitment is the most critical.
For those working around a leader, the single most important trait is a leader's visible awareness of bias - a leader that constantly challenges their own bias and encourage others to note their pre-conceived leanings. Raters also care about humility and empathy.

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Loves to Talk About Oneself

A pathological narcissist loves to talk about himself, often in exaggerated and grandiose terms. 

Common conversational topics for narcissists include accomplishments and achievem...

Charming with a Catch

Many narcissists can come across as alluring and attractive, especially during the initial stages of a relationship.

While there’s nothing wrong inherently with being charming and romantic, the narcissist crafts these traits in order to use others. He or she is not really interested in you, but only in what he wants to extract from you.

Lack of Reliability and Follow Through

Many narcissists lack reliability and follow through. This can range from regularly breaking appointments, to habitually falling through on promises and agreements.

When you observe a pattern of inconsistency between what your partner says, versus what she or he actually does, you may be dealing with a narcissist.

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When Employees are Learning

Learning as an adult can be challenging. Leaders need to foster an environment of psychological safety among its workforce that is in the midst of re-skilling itself.

It helps if leaders...

Long-Term Outlook

It helps to keep an eye on the long-term benefits and roles of the future. Leaders need to be transparent and help people in their organization understand where the world is heading in the next 3 to 5 years.

There is a need to transition the company culture as the current leadership roles are no longer sufficient. This is to ensure the company will thrive in the future.

A Safe Place To Learn
  • Just like we create the right learning space for our children at home, we need to provide an atmosphere where people can tinker, learn, fail and grow.
  • Failing as an adult is difficult, but is part of the unlearning process. The right environment can make employees feel motivated and empowered while having some amount of challenge and healthy conflict.

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Going all-in on remote work: benefits for businesses
Going all-in on remote work: benefits for businesses

Remote work can be costly or cost-saving, depending on how well-equipped you are to really support it.

  • When done right, assessing the appropriateness of remote work for all your empl...
Defining roles for a remote work setting

Businesses can categorize employees:

  • Location-independent. Knowledge workers are not dependent on location and don't need to be in an office.
  • Location-frequent. These people spend half their time in an office and half remote. They need an in-person base to use for coordination and physical meetings. These are often salespeople, marketing people, back-office services (IT, HR, finance), and creative jobs.
  • Mandatory in-office jobs. These involve specialized equipment that you can't put in an employee's home, such as manufacturing jobs.

Far more job functions can be done remotely if company leadership will accept it. But, remote work is not for everyone. Some jobs are tied to physical locations or equipment. Some people also do not want to work from home.

Equipping remote workers

In-office employees that transition to remote work need to be equipped. Spending recommendations are:

  • A one-time stipend to purchase some office furniture and other miscellaneous work equipment.
  • Basic ergonomic training.
  • The same class of laptop or workstation they'd get in the office.
  • A monthly stipend to offset some or all home broadband costs.
  • IT support costs.
  • Basic, yet complete tech loadout, such as laptop, secondary monitor, mouse, keyboard, wired earbuds, USB hub, chair that meets ergonomic needs.

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