Researchers reveal the secret to using narcissism to your advantage

Researchers reveal the secret to using narcissism to your advantage

If you’ve ever been told that you are a narcissist you likely didn’t react gratefully.

We primarily associate narcissistic tendencies with pejoratives because we’re only familiar with the broad stokes of the personality disorder. However, being labeled a humble narcissist is not necessarily a bad thing according to a new paper.

Researchers behind a new  study  published in the Journal of Applied Psychology surveyed workers employed at Fortune 100 Companies.

Ultimately they concluded that team’s led by individuals who counterbalance narcissism and humility are more productive, more engaged and perform better on daily tasks. These employees even viewed their bosses more favorably compared to firms helmed by less narcissistic executives.

“Although an examination of leaders who are narcissistic yet humble may seem oxymoronic and even paradoxical, researchers have suggested that seemingly contradictory personal attributes may exist simultaneously and may actually work together to produce positive outcomes,”  the authors write in the report. “Results from survey data from followers and leaders working for a large health insurance organization showed that the interaction of leader narcissism and leader humility is associated with perceptions of leader effectiveness.”

Ideas, expectations, performance, and collaboration

Make no mistake, bosses who expressed narcissistic qualities that were not tempered by humility were the least effective of all the leaders analyzed. Self-assurance is an important trait for a leader to have but balance is key.

Subordinates working for narcissists tended to slack off more and take longer breaks. Conversely, workers under bosses who didn’t express any narcissistic traits were generally more productive but they didn’t perform on tasks quite as well as the workers employed by bosses who evidenced both humble and narcissistic personality traits.

What exactly is a humble narcissist? They can be defined a number of different ways but self-awareness is the most important factor. Humble narcissists are at once confident in their abilities and aware of their shortcomings.

So as far as the study is concerned humility isn’t defined by deference in a social sense but applied to expectations, ideas, performance, and collaboration. Ideas need to be bolstered by an understanding of limitations. This is why employees viewed humble narcissists more favorably.

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