According to a new research, those with moderate levels of narcissism have achieved "a nice balance between having sufficient levels of self-confidence, but do not manifest the negative, antisocial aspects of narcissism that involve putting others down to feel good about themselves".

Narcissism - excessive interest in or admiration of oneself - hardly ever comes with positive connotations.

Previous studies have focused on narcissism’s relationship with leadership effectiveness, but these results were 'relatively inconsistent', said study leader Emily Grijalva, psychology professor at University of Illinois.

To prove the point, Grijalva and team set out to determine exactly how narcissism is tied to both leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness.

“We confirmed that narcissism is neither fully beneficial nor harmful, but it’s really best in moderation,” said Grijalva.

Narcissists can be preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of their enormous success, power, attractiveness and intelligence, said the study published in the journal Personnel Psychology.

“But you have to keep in mind that although narcissists are likely to emerge as the group leader, over time, the more negative aspects of narcissism tend to emerge,” the study cautioned.

These new findings could have interesting applications for the business world.  According to Grijalva, in the future, personality tests that measure narcissism “need to be interpreted differently for leadership selection or development”.

These results could really shift the focus of the discussion, because instead of asking whether or not narcissists make good leaders, we are asking how much narcissism it takes to be the ideal leader, the study concluded.


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