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  • Writer's picturelindsayannkohler

Your Narcissistic CEO Is Surrounded By More Narcissists

This originally appeared on Forbes on April 27, 2024.

Ever had a know-it-all, narcissistic senior leader who was difficult to work with? Chances are, they weren't the only narcissist on the block. New research published in the Journal of Management analyzed almost 13,000 LinkedIn profiles of CEOs and other top executives and found that the more narcissistic a CEO is, the more likely she or he is to hire narcissists into their top management team. Why? Because narcissists are initially attracted to each other.

This makes sense. Similarity bias explains how we favor people who are similar to us, which is why including bias mitigation practices in a hiring process is so important. But narcissists also know how to make a great first impression, which is something a narcissistic leader would greatly value.

Narcissists were identified by examining their LinkedIn profiles. Researchers looked at the number of pictures of the executive, the "About" section's total word count, the number of listed professional experiences, the number of listed skills, and the number of listed credentials, such as publications, patents, awards, and certificates. They then mapped those items to one of four traits that signal narcissism: leadership/authority, self-admiration, superiority/arrogance, and entitlement.

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