When does narcissistic leadership become problematic? Dick Fuld at Lehman Brothers. (2013)
“The connection between narcissism and leadership is well established…. The author argues that a single individual may at different times be both constructive and reactive
Mark Stein, School of Management, University of Leicester,
Journal of Management Inquiry 2013 22: 282
The connection between narcissism and leadership is well established. Narcissists tend to enjoy the limelight bequeathed by positions of power and are thus frequently found in top leadership positions.
However the literature finds a dichotomy in that some narcissistic leaders are “constructive” (helpful) whereas others are “reactive” (unhelpful) to their organisations.
The author attempts to reframe the debate by arguing that a single individual may at different times be both constructive and reactive.
He also proposes that the key factor leading a constructive narcissistic leader to become reactive is downturn in the environment
He uses the example of Dick Fuld – whose leadership at Lehman Brothers was at the eye of the 2008 credit crisis storm – to illustrate this.
A key implication is that constructive narcissistic leaders may be incubating problems that only become manifest at a later stage.
Access the full paper here: When does narcissistic leadership become problematic?