Having gotten much from Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, I picked up his 2006 book, Social Intelligence, and found the following passages, in a chapter titled, “The Narcissist: Dreams of Glory” –
“In the business world, such narcissists can end up as larger-than-life leaders . . . Such ambitious and self-confident leaders can be effective in the present cutthroat business world . . . Productive narcissists combine a justified self-confidence with openness to criticism . . . .
“But unhealthy narcissists crave to be admired more than loved . . . [T]hey are driven to achieve – not because they have a high internal standard of excellence but because they want the perks and glory that achievement brings. Caring little about how their actions affect others, they feel free to pursue their goals aggressively, regardless of the human costs. In times of great turbulence . . . such leaders can seem attractive . . . .
“But such narcissists empathize selectively, turning a blind eye to those who do not feed their striving for glory. They can close or sell a company, or lay off multitudes of employees, without feeling an ounce of sympathy for those for whom those decisions are personal disasters . . .
“Such leaders avoid even constructive feedback, which they perceive as an attack. Their hypersensitivity to criticism in any form also means that narcissistic leaders don’t seek out information widely; rather they selectively seize on data that supports their views, ignoring disconfirming facts. They don’t listen but prefer to preach and indoctrinate . . . .
“When they harbor unrealistic dreams, lacking any restraint and ignoring wise counsel, they drag a company down the wrong track . . . .
“Even unhealthy narcissists can sometimes be charmers. The very name comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who was so entranced by his own beauty that he fell in love with his own image reflected in a lake. The nymph Echo also fell in love with him, but she ended up spurned and heartbroken, unable to compete with his self-adoration.
“As the myth suggests, many narcissists attract people because the self-confidence they exude can lend them a charismatic aura. Though they are quick to put others down, unhealthy narcissists view themselves in absolutely positive terms. They are, understandably, happiest in a marriage with someone who will be unfailingly fawning. The slogan of the narcissist might be ‘Others exist to adore me.’
“[N]arcissists . . . are blatant in their self-inflation and braggadocio – leavened with a necessary dose of self-deception . . . they take credit for successes but never blame for failure . . . .
“According to one standard test, a narcissist is someone who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, harbors obsessive fantasies of unbounded glory, feels rage or intense shame when criticized, expects special favors, and lacks empathy. That deficiency in empathy means narcissists remain oblivious to the self-centered abrasiveness that others see in them so clearly . . . Nonetheless, narcissists typically think of themselves as likable.”