business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on a study from researchers at the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill saying that "narcissistic CEOs tend to overspend on investments and deliver substandard results. On top of that, they are often paid more than their humbler yet better-performing peers."

According to the story, "Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing the signatures of about 450 chief executives at public companies. The size of a person’s signature is positively associated with many of the traits of narcissism, such as ego, exploitativeness and dominance."

The story goes on to note that the researchers "looked at the executives’ level of investment and tracked later results. Given the data, it appears that the narcissists talked a good game but could not live up to it. Not surprisingly, their tenure at companies was shorter, too. Narcissists may do the most damage at the top, but they can disrupt workplaces at all levels. They possess very little empathy and have grandiose views of themselves, leading to feelings of entitlement and a constant need for admiration."
KC's View:
A few weeks ago, I had a chance to spend some time at USC, with the 2015 Food Industry Management Class. And one of the things they've been focused on is the whole nature of servant leadership ... which, considering this story, I find to be heartening.

I'm not sure that analyzing signatures is the most scientifically valid way of determining which CEOs are out for themselves. But we all know the ones who are out for themselves, and the ones who are not, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that the narcissists are less effective in the long run.