Today's business leaders maintain a higher profile than their predecessors did in the 1950s through the 1980s. Rather than hide behind the corporate veil, they give interviews to magazines like Business Week, Time, and The Economist. According to psychoanalyst, anthropologist, and consultant Michael Maccoby, this love of the limelight often stems from their personalities—in a narcissistic personality. That is both good and bad news: Narcissists are good for companies that need people with vision and the courage to take them in new directions. But narcissists can also lead companies into trouble by refusing to listen to the advice and warnings of their managers. So what can the narcissistic leader do to avoid the traps of his own personality? Maccoby argues that today’s most innovative leaders are not consensus-building bureaucrats; they are “productive narcissists” with the interrelated set of skills —foresight, systems thinking, visioning, motivating, and partnering—that he terms “strategic intelligence.” Maccoby redefines the negative stereotype as the personality best suited to lead during times of rapid social and economic change.
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