Happiness and Wellbeing at Work

Putting research into practice

Narcissistic Leadership

For over a century, the study and the practice of leadership have led to similar conclusions: Effective leaders are those who are gifted with emotional intelligence; have a sense of urgency; inspire and motivate employees; identify opportunities and solutions for organizational growth; and model ethical behaviors. Successful leaders are also those who protect their organizations from external threats and contribute to their employees’ career growth and advancement.

What happens when these expectations are not met? When, after skillfully convincing their hiring committee of their extraordinary talent and abilities, leaders start demeaning, manipulating, and emotionally harassing their staff; When their emotionally abusive behaviors result in their colleagues’ low morale, absenteeism, and turnover; And when they overtly or covertly place their interests before those of their employees and the organization.

Although dysfunctional leadership behaviors are not a new research topic, the study of mental illnesses and personality disorders of employees is fairly recent. In the past three decades, there has been an increasing stream of research acknowledging the negative impact of “bad” leader behaviors (such as bullying) on organizations and workers. These publications have focused on destructive and abusive leader behaviors resulting from personality disorders, malignant narcissism, and psychopathy.

With this book, executives, managers, employees, and HR professionals can learn about the characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and its correlation to organizational variables such as employee productivity, motivation, well-being, turnover, and career advancement. Narcissism At Work also provides practical advice to detect narcissistic traits in candidates at time of recruitment and learn about effective (and legal) ways to assist employees who may have been victimized by an NPD colleague. These solutions and coping strategies are also vital for industrial psychologists, human resource professionals, and organizational leaders in order to optimize business functions and increase employee well-being.

Narcissism At Work - Personality Disorders of Corporate Leaders is organized as follows:

The first part of the book is theoretical. It first defines and describes narcissistic leaders (traits and skills). It then presents several psychometric measures used by clinical psychologists to assess Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Finally, it summarizes the research about narcissism in leadership and management and explains how NPD leaders perceive themselves and others. The second part of the book is practical. It highlights some tools human resource professionals, consultants, and organizational psychologists should consider when dealing with leaders who present NPD traits and behaviors. The book includes several case studies, followed by some practical advice. It ends with some directions for future research.

Marie-Line Germain is an award-winning Associate Professor of Human Resources and Leadership at Western Carolina University, USA.  Her research and publications focus on employee expertise, mental health in the workplace, and dysfunctional leadership behaviors. She is a Fulbright grant recipient and has extensive experience as a human resource consultant.​​​​​​​

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