Ever wondered how narcissistic individuals often rise to power? This study may have some clues. A narcissist's self-image may do a great job of encouraging their managers to promote them, according to a recent study in the Journal of Personality.
The research included two questionnaire-based studies of 259 employees and 178 supervisors total where each assessed multiple statements regarding themselves and a potentially promotable employee respectively.
Some examples of statements the employees were expected to assess "I am an extraordinary person," "in my work team, I think I have a great deal of power," and other questions from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory test as far as their self-image.
Supervisors would answer statements such as "I would recommend this employee for a promotion," and "This employee has a good chance of climbing the organizational ladder" based on the employees' remarked traits.
Lastly, 181 supervisors then received profiles of fictional narcissist employees and determined whether they would "promote" them.
The results showed that narcissist employees were more self-promotional of their work and had an inflated sense of power in the workplace. It also showed that supervisors were more likely to promote employees who displayed these narcissistic traits, possibly due to their grandiose perception and displays of power.
According to a 2016 study, narcissist individuals were more likely to believe that they make for effective and superior leaders, which could correlate with self-promotional behaviors like higher regard for their role in a work project.
The results showed that this self-promotional behavior was not viewed negatively by the supervisors in the study, and could be viewed as a positive trait depending on the workplace.
Does this mean you have to be a narcissist to get promoted? Not quite, but there could be some self-confidence lessons to be learned.