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Public safety leadership: Be cautious of extreme narcissists

Leaders should not ignore people in their organizations who appear to be extremely narcissistic, because these people usually have their own self-serving agenda


By Dr. Michael L. Beshears, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice at American Military University

Narcissism is the part of an individual’s personality that seeks attention and approval. It is the aspect within people that causes them to brag and seek to be the center of attention from time to time. Everyone exhibits some degree of narcissism. However, extreme narcissists are the ones who seem to constantly brag and constantly need to be the center of attention.

Leaders should not ignore people in their organizations who appear to be extremely narcissistic, because these people usually have their own self-serving agenda. This may be in opposition to or a detriment to an organization’s mission and the morale of staff (Grijalva, Harms, Newman, Gaddis, & Fraley, 2015). It can also lead to an “us” versus “them” mentality, which can prove counter-productive to effective policing initiatives.

Leaders, including those in public safety fields such as law enforcement, fire services and emergency medical services, must be aware of their own narcissistic tendencies, and pay attention to others who seem to have an extreme narcissistic personality.

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