Their swaggering arrogance and natural authority can make it seem like they were born to lead.
But, though dominant individuals frequently make it to the top of the career ladder, their self-obsession often makes them the worst bosses, a study has shown.
University of Amsterdam researchers divided 150 participants into groups of three. One in each was made leader and the other two were told they could advise, but that the leader would make the decision.
The groups then had to choose the best candidate for a job.
Some of the 45 items of information about the candidates were given to all three in the group, and some to only one. They would not pick the best candidate unless they used all the information – a test of communication.
The narcissism of the leaders was then assessed and their effectiveness was rated.
Group members rated the most narcissistic leaders as most effective, but in fact the groups led by the greatest egotists never chose the best candidate.
Psychologist Barbora Nevicka, who led the study, said: ‘There’s no doubt narcissism can sometimes be useful in a leader.
'But… good leaders facilitate communication by asking questions and summarising the conversation – something narcissists are too self-involved to do.’
The findings are to be published in the journal Psychological Science.
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