This one personality trait can drive you to success
Your resume is selected and you’re asked for a phone interview. How can you sound impressive?
You have a monstrous boss who’s driving you to look for another job.
You’re worried that your co-worker is a shameless self-promoter who’s going to steal the promotion that’s rightfully yours.
One pesky personality trait – narcissism – figures prominently in each of the above dilemmas.
Broadly defined as noxious self-love, narcissism plays such a big role in the workplace that researchers are investigating ways to measure the amount of the trait in individuals. And, they’re examining how various levels of narcissism impact the effectiveness of business leaders.
If any of the scenarios above are familiar, recent research provides helpful insight:
• “Narcissists are great in interview situations,” explains Peter Harms, assistant professor of management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “They are experienced and at ease with saying nice things about themselves.”
If the pronoun “I” isn’t a big part of your vocabulary, you’re not a natural narcissist. Become more of one by practicing answers to questions you anticipate being asked, noting your accomplishments with a sense of confidence, Harms suggests.
• It’s not your fault that you can’t stand your boss. Highly narcissistic bosses put down others to feel good about themselves, says Harms.
• Worrying that self-promoting co-workers could leap-frog you for a promotion is legitimate. “Other researchers have speculated that this is because they tend to self-nominate for leadership positions,” Harms observes.
But, soon research may uncover ways to discern levels of narcissism from an individual’s language patterns, notes William Spangler, an associate management professor at Binghamton University.
“Everybody is at least a little narcissistic,” observes Spangler. Since high-level narcissists make bad bosses, measuring tools can help more moderate narcissists advance.
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