Google CEO Eric Schmidt went to North Korea despite U.S. government objections. Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft spinoff Mondelez, acquired Cadbury over the opposition of employees and board members. Donald Trump is “the Donald.” We expect all leaders to make bold decisions, but are narcissists effective leaders?
In a fascinating study titled “It’s All About Me: Narcissistic CEOs and Their Effects on Company Strategy and Performance,” Arjiit Chatterjee and Donald Hambrick assessed 111 CEOs to discover a narcissistic pattern.
They found that narcissists deliver more extreme performances. “Because narcissists crave attention, they often work hard to achieve glory,” the researchers write. “That often gets them into positions of power and influence. Once they get there, however, they still need attention and applause. This … means they are more likely to embark upon what are often considered bold strategic moves, with mergers and acquisitions a particular favorite. Because such execs are self-centered, it doesn’t really occur to them to ask whether what is good for them is also good for the business. In fact, the separation between those two is pretty invisible to narcissists.”