The Productive Narcissist
IN THIS SUMMARY
For our age of rapid social and economic change, author Michael Maccoby proposes a new paradigm of leadership, one that is based on a classic Freudian personality trait – narcissism. Challenging prevailing theories of leadership, Maccoby argues that today’s innovative leaders are not consensus-building bureaucrats; they are, instead, “productive narcissists.” Productive narcissists possess a set of skills – foresight, systems thinking, visioning, motivating, and partnering – which together, form what Maccoby calls “strategic intelligence.” However, he emphasizes that narcissistic leadership does not always result in successful leadership, and that narcissists who lack strategic intelligence will not succeed.
The Productive Narcissist does not fall in line with much of the current business literature about great leaders, which equates successful leadership with emotional intelligence, empathy, listening skills, and consensus building. What these theories lack, Maccoby believes, is an understanding of personality type and the central role it plays in defining the leader.