What makes a great sales leader? Is it a manager with confidence, an ego under control, and empathy for others? Or, is he or she an egocentric, power-mad narcissist?

A recent article by Live Science (10/7/08) suggests that it is probably the latter. The article suggests that, “Narcissists are overconfident about their abilities and like to be in charge. They are most likely to step in as leaders, be they politicians or power brokers.” Sadly, many narcissists are also selected as sales managers.

The article continued, “However, their initiative doesn’t mean they are the best leaders. Narcissists don’t outperform others in leadership roles. Narcissists tend to be egotistical types who exaggerate their talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others.”

The researchers stress that, “Narcissism is not the same as high self-esteem. A person with high self-esteem is confident and charming, but they also have a caring component and they want to develop intimacy with others. Narcissists have an inflated view of their talents and abilities and are all about themselves. They don’t care as much about others.”

Unfortunately, narcissists become sales leaders since they love power, are egotistical, and are usually charming and extroverted. This profile doesn’t make for better sales leaders. Narcissist sales leaders make poor choices since their focus is about themselves rather than the team or company. They just don’t care about others.

Organizations select the narcissists for leadership roles for the wrong reasons including the unending pleading by the narcissist to get the job, along with the personal charisma they exude. They fool management into giving them the job.

Need a strong sales leader? Look for someone with patience, analytical skills, quiet self confidence, and a desire to help others. That spec will eliminate most of your sales leader candidates.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

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