Many narcissistic leaders are really good at what they do. Their belief that they can get the job done allows them to take bold risks that often pay off. Additionally, their charm helps them gain faithful followers who are eager to further their cause.
But some narcissistic CEOs allow their superiority complex to hinder their company's success. Their need for self-importance gets in the way, and ultimately, their quest for admiration becomes their downfall.
Here are five ways narcissistic leaders sabotage their company's success:
1. Telling (Rather Than Showing) People How Great They Are
It's one thing to praise employees' hard work, but it's another thing to add #greatestcompanyever to every social media post. The more a CEO boasts about how awesome his or her company is, the more narcissistic (and less competent) the person looks. Customers, business partners, and employees are likely to see there's little truth behind the gloating.
A truly valuable leader doesn't need to remind the staff that they've built the world's best company. Instead, the leader's energy goes into creating the best business possible. He or she knows that satisfied customers will spread the word on the company's behalf.
2. Trying to Be the Star of the Show
Narcissistic CEOs think they are the best face of the company. Whether they star in the company's online videos or insist their headshot appear on the website, they want to be the star of the show. Unfortunately, their desire to be seen takes attention away from the company's mission.
Humble leaders don't feel compelled to make everything about them. They allow other employees to bask in the limelight when it's appropriate, and they keep the focus on the company's vision, not their private agendas.
3. Not Understanding the Audience
Narcissistic CEOs think the company's message, product, or service is critical to everyone. They view the entire world as a captive audience. Their misunderstanding of who the audience really is becomes evident in their marketing efforts, social media messages, and their brand.
The best CEOs want to learn from their customers. They're invested in communicating with their audience in a way that furthers the company's mission. When it's appropriate, they focus on providing education, not giving lengthy speeches that portray themselves in a positive light.
4. Hiding Their Mistakes
Narcissistic CEOs constantly cover their tracks. They make excuses and blame other people--even the customer--for their mistakes. They refuse to apologize, even when their missteps are obvious.
Effective leaders learn from their mistakes. They're humble enough to admit when they're wrong, and they're interested in learning from their mistakes so they can do better next time.
5. Refusing to Accept Feedback
Listening to feedback with an open mind is out of the question for narcissistic CEOs. They discount criticism and minimize other people's opinions. They invest their energy in defending themselves, rather than listening to what others have to say.
Whether it's an employee's concern or a customer's complaint, truly powerful leaders welcome the comments. They're willing to listen, even when the words are hard to hear. They're open to creating positive change when it's in the best interest of the company.