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Productive Narcissists and Visionary Leadership

Productive Narcissists

The great accomplishment of [Steve] Jobs's life is how effectively he put his idiosyncrasies - his petulance, his narcissism, and his rudeness - in the service of perfection.~ Malcolm Gladwell

There’s a compelling business case to be made for narcissistic CEOs who can lead companies to greatness, inspire followers and achieve game-changing solutions in our rapidly changing world. In the words of Michael Maccoby, author of Narcissistic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails: “It is narcissistic leaders who take us to places we’ve never been before, who innovate, who build empires out of nothing.”

There is a strong need for bold, visionary, productive narcissists who can lead companies through 21st-century periods of uncertainty and transition. In the last 20 years, we’ve enjoyed innovative advances from companies led by productive narcissists like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Andy Grove, Howard Schultz, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.

A strong case can be made  against obsessive, by-the-numbers personality types as leaders because their conservative approach to running companies doesn’t allow for sufficient risk-taking or innovation. Much depends, however, on the specific business environment.

If you’ve ever wondered how someone like Steve Jobs could succeed, in spite of his lack of emotional intelligence, the answer may lie in his strengths as a productive narcissist, coupled with his strategic intelligence. The same can be said for many stellar leaders over the last 20 years: Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Larry Ellison, Richard Branson and Herb Kelleher. Each is a strong personality with narcissistic tendencies of the productive kind.

Visionary Leadership

Given the huge social and economic stakes, there’s a critical need to understand leadership personalities, including the value of the narcissistic leader. The best way to avoid leadership derailment is to steer narcissistic leaders onto stabilizing paths by developing their strategic intelligence.

Working Resources is a  Strategic Talent Management and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

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