Even in today's data-rich world, most employees advance their careers based on what their direct line manager thinks and says of them, with subjective supervisory ratings being the main measure of people's performance, as opposed to some objective marker of their actual contribution to a team or organization relative to their peers.
As I argue in my latest book, "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders (and How to Fix It)," managing your boss is particularly difficult if they have narcissistic traits, with scientific research showing that narcissism levels have been on the rise in the past decades.
Narcissism is often mistaken as leadership potential. When people are overconfident, unaware of their limitations, and when they display grandiose and megalomaniac aspirations, they often come across as competitive, tough and leader-like, even in the absence of actual leadership talents.
The key objective is not to improve or change them, but simply to make things easier for yourself.
To be sure, in an ideal world this advice would be irrelevant because the majority of bosses would have leadership talent and get to where they are because of their interest in helping others perform well and their ability to motivate high-performing teams. This would also imply that those who are tasked with selecting leaders would generally filter out those with narcissistic tendencies. But since we live in the real world you may find this advice more useful than it should be.
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, a professor of business psychology at University College London and at Columbia University, and an associate at Harvard's Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. He's the author of "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It)." Follow him on Twitter @drtcp.
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