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Tendency to Manipulate and Narcissism Linked to Professional Success

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According to a study by the University of Bern, in Switzerland, cited by the Association for Psychological Science, jerks may be more likely to rise to the top of the organizational hierarchy.

The study concluded that two dark personality traits, tendency to manipulate and narcissism, may help you succeed in your career.

Specifically, the narcissists earned more money, and those with a tendency to manipulate held more leadership positions.

I don’t doubt these findings, but consider the form of personality analysis the researchers used: the participants filled out questionnaires including questions such as “I tend to manipulate others to get my way” and “I tend to want others to pay attention to me.”

Do you really believe all participants filled out the questionnaires honestly? Everybody knows you’re on your best behavior while taking self-tests.

It’s likely there may be a much higher percentage of high-achieving jerks than the study shows.

Unfortunately, leadership is impaired by vanity (same thing as narcissism) and the tendency to manipulate, along with other red flag personality traits.

The tendency to manipulate can involve many red flag personality traits, but the most common include the following: domineering behavior; dishonesty (ranging from white lies to bluff, to self-deception to intentional deceit); excessive charm; and tendency to be overly critical.

I readily and effectively identify severe forms of all the above red flag personality traits in my non-traditional security investigations.

Manipulation comes in many forms, but some of the more prevalent include the following: conditional (vs. unconditional) behavior; passive-aggressive behavior; emotional exploitation; being excessively nice in an underhanded way; playing the poor me game; trying to make others feel guilty; and others.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Petullo

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One Response to “Tendency to Manipulate and Narcissism Linked to Professional Success”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Dear Scott,

    Happy New Year!

    Thank you for your insightful article. Unfortunately, people with NPD would fight to the death, to deny its reality. While telling others that they are crazy, it’s the NPD’s who truly are the crazy ones. Anyone who deliberately sets others up — via manipulation, humiliation, or domination is operating with malice of forethought. These people are not mentally un-well, they know exactly what they are doing. If confronted with their disorder, they will admit that they believe they have a leg up on others, and that NPD actually enhances their existence! There isn’t a pill they can take, and no therapy available that can turn their twisted thinking around. There is no help, and no cure for narcissism. If you know anyone who fits the above description, initiate a NO CONTACT EVER AGAIN policy, and stick to it.

    In Love and Light,

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