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If Humble People Make the Best Leaders, Why Do We Fall for Charismatic Narcissists?

Two Kinds Of Charisma

  • Personalized charisma is when the leader's perceived heroism also has high levels of authoritarianism and narcissism.
  • Socialized charisma is when the leader has the aura of a hero, coupled with low authoritarianism and a genuine interest in the team's welfare.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

If Humble People Make the Best Leaders, Why Do We Fall for Charismatic Narcissists?

If Humble People Make the Best Leaders, Why Do We Fall for Charismatic Narcissists?

https://hbr.org/2017/04/if-humble-people-make-the-best-leaders-why-do-we-fall-for-charismatic-narcissists

hbr.org

5

Key Ideas

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 know their strengths and shortcomings as well.

Humble CEOs become enablers for the top management team to provide their fullest potential. The CEO's humble attitude, mannerisms and the way they conduct themselves become contagious among subordinates.

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.

Two Kinds Of Charisma

  • Personalized charisma is when the leader's perceived heroism also has high levels of authoritarianism and narcissism.
  • Socialized charisma is when the leader has the aura of a hero, coupled with low authoritarianism and a genuine interest in the team's welfare.

The Romance Of Leadership

The romance of leadership hypothesis suggests we tend to gravitate towards the magnetic, narcissistic leaders.

We get the leaders we deserve, and we can do real good by choosing socialized charismatic leaders over narcissists.

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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 we...

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.

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Charismatic Leadership Style

Max Weber defined charisma as “[a] certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at ...

History of charismatic leadership

  • In medieval times, leadership was mostly based on tradition. Most people never met their leaders and leadership was legitimized by the divine right of kings - charisma was not needed.
  • The 19th and the 20th century were full of charismatic leaders. Technological (newspaper, radio, and TV) allowed leaders to transport their charisma over long distances.
  • Our current globalized world and access to social media have led to another rise in charismatic leaders. On Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, many people support leaders solely based on their charisma.

Dangers of charismatic leadership

Most of the dangers of the charismatic movement relate to this power.

  • Charismatic leaders lose support more quickly than other types of leaders.
  • They have to clearly be the best person for the job at hand – always and in any situation. This is why they often engage in a cult of personality and become resistant to criticism.
  • Things that charismatic leaders do to maintain their power are precisely the things that diminish it when their business, country, or other undertaking encounters problems.
  • When charismatic leaders use their position to motivate their followers to do things they would not normally do, the followers often feel betrayed once they suspect that they might not get the expected payoff. 
  • They often eventually take the praise of their followers too seriously and show narcissistic traits. They consider criticism as disobedience and expect total loyalty. 

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