Vulnerable narcissistic leaders are especially likely to make employees irritated during crisis situations, reveals new research from NEOMA Business School.
Birgit Schyns, Distinguished Professor of People & Organisations at NEOMA, and co-authors analysed survey data on workers in the UK education sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Respondents reported their levels of irritation and COVID-related worry in five weekly surveys, as well as their experiences with vulnerable narcissistic leadership – an unstable form of leadership characterised by covert feelings of entitlement.
The study finds that employees subjected to this kind of behaviour reported feeling more irritation in general, and this irritation worsened in weeks when they were exposed to higher amounts of vulnerable narcissistic behaviour from those in charge.
The researchers suggest organizations should watch out for red flags of narcissistic leadership, such as punishing others for taking the initiative, as the irritation this causes followers can lead to more severe mental health impairments.
“Followers can be protected by implementing checks and balances and adjusting HR practices to better deal with these behaviours,” says Professor Schyns.