What is a narcissist? The simple answer – you know when you meet one or work for one! Psychologists Alan Cavaiola and Neil Lavender said that after being around a narcissist, you will often feel demeaned, inadequate, unappreciated, and angry. Narcissism is when a person has an extraordinarily high view of the oneself and falls far short on empathy towards others. Psychologists have tested a number of college students over the past 30 years and have noted a continuous increase in narcissism during this time. So, rather than asking ourselves if we are one – let’s look at how to know that you are NOT one.
1. If you are known more for building others up than tearing others down – you are less likely to be a narcissist.
2. If you understand and acknowledge your flaws and limitations rather than exaggerate your strengths and value to the organization - you are less likely to be a narcissist.
3. If you give credit to others rather than take it all yourself - you are less likely to be a narcissist.
4. If you name drop to add value to a conversation rather than to look good - you are less likely to be a narcissist.
5. If you invest in others rather than take advantage of them for your own benefit - you are less likely to be a narcissist.
6. If you both feel empathy and show empathy towards others - you are less likely to be a narcissist.
7. If you look out for the interest of others rather than acting as though you are entitled to more than others – you ar e less likely to be a narcissist.
Seldom do any of us leaders know how we are doing in these seven areas without feedback from truthful colleagues, friends and coaches. We would all do well to remember the wise words from Ann Landers: “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.