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Curb your narcissistic chief executives. (2014)

“Last month, I attended a conference …., which considered the question of leadership under stress and suffering from hubris. It was a fascinating day.


Stefan Stern, Writer on Business, Politics and Management>management, 3 December 2014

“How do you know if your chief executive is out of control? Here are a few behaviour patterns to look out for:

  • Excessive confidence in the individual’s own judgment and contempt for advice or criticism.
  • Restlessness, recklessness and impulsiveness.
  • A narcissistic propensity to see their world primarily as an arena in which to exercise power and seek glory.
  • Loss of contact with reality, often associated with progressive isolation.
  • A disproportionate concern with image and presentation.

“These are some of the symptoms of a changed personality in leaders, labelled ‘hubris syndrome’ by Jonathan Davidson and Lord Owen (the former MP David Owen) in an academic paper five years ago. Last month, I attended a conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, organised by Lord Owen, which considered the question of leadership under stress and suffering from hubris. It was a fascinating day.”

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  1. Prof Paul Gilbert says:

    (edited:) Even the taxi driver I spoke to in Seattle recently had the view that politics is simply not working and that while it used to be government by the people for the people it’s now government by corporations for corporations — when you getting taxi drivers coming up with that it tells its own story. So organisations (must) consider what motivational systems we need to stimulate in individuals and in leaders in order avoid the potential for hubris and also to orientate them to create a more compassionate world for us all to live in. The issues of how leadership operates in modern society is a serious problem because of the way the human brain is.