Although some features of a narcissistic personality may look like confidence or healthy self-esteem, it’s not the same. Narcissism crosses the border of healthy confidence and turns into a self absorption that puts your leadership at risk.
Now, instead of a healthy confidence that is attractive to followers, you come across as “conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don’t receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry,” according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
How can you tell the difference? Here are ten warning signs. While all of us could probably see something of ourselves in this list, identifying closely with more than five of these characteristics could signal an overactive ego and an at-risk leadership style.
10 Symptoms of Narcissism
- Believing that you’re better than others.
- Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness.
- Exaggerating your achievements or talents.
- Expecting constant praise and admiration.
- Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly.
- Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings.
- Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior.
- Being jealous of others. Believing that others are jealous of you.
- Setting unrealistic goals
- Having a fragile self-esteem. Being easily hurt and rejected.
Regaining your balance
Is your ego on overdrive? If that’s the case, here are some suggestions for keeping things in perspective.
Practice humility. Mathew Hayward, author of Ego Check recommends that before you make any big decision, ask yourself three questions. “Am I getting the right input into this decision?” “Do I have someone whom I can trust to tell me when I’m wrong?” “Am I the very best person to be making this call?”
Be curious. David Marcum and Steven Smith, authors of Egonomics encourage you to, “Give yourself permission to test what you think, feel, and believe to be true. Remember that you aren’t expected to know everything about anything.” They also recommend that you seek the truth. Find out what is really going on. It helps close the gap between your perception and reality.
Practice self-compassion. Authors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell of The Narcissism Epidemic remind you to be kind to yourself while accurately facing reality. Also, be mindful. Practice living in the present. It keeps the self from entering every experience in your life. Mindfulness quiets the self-absorbed voice in your head so you can see the world more clearly. Finally, acknowledge commonalities with others. Research shows that when narcissistic personalities discover something in common with others, egotism dissipates.
Best-selling business author Ken Blanchard often tells his audiences that EGO stands for Edging Good Out. Don’t let an overactive ego limit your effectiveness as a leader. Keep things in perspective for best results.
Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms from Mayo Clinic website
Ego Check by Mathew Hayward
Egonomics by David Marcum and Steven Smith
The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell