August 20, 2011
Why Narcissists Make Bad Church Leaders
Posted in IC Doctrine and Practices, Misconceptions Dispelled, Pastor/Teachers tagged authoritarianism, church hurt, clergy, institutional church, Leadership, narcississm, Pastor, Preeminence, teacher at 10:27 pm by Set Free Indeed
Narcissists Make Bad Leaders – A Study
Reading this MSNBC article entitled “Narcissists make bad leaders; here’s why” made me think about leaders in the churches exhibiting the same characteristics.
Although narcissists have leadership-related qualities, such as confidence, authority and high self-esteem, their self-centeredness ultimately prevents them from partaking in the creative exchange of information and ideas, which is crucial in group decision-making situations, the researchers at the University of Amsterdam said.
It makes perfect sense. Though narcissists are often charismatic, charming, assertive, confident, and seem like the perfect candidates for leadership, this study concludes what the scriptures have known all along about the conceited arrogance which blinds them from making decisions which are best for the group, and in this case, the body of Christ.
An experiment in the journal of Psychological Science, took 150 people and placed them in groups of 3 to choose a job candidate, where one person in each group was assigned as the leader who was ultimately responsible for choosing the candidate. They shared unique information with each participant about the candidates as well as common information with everyone. If all information was shared with the group in the decision-making, they would choose the right candidate for the job. Participants also indicated how much information they knew, indicating the level of sharing that went on in the group. GUESS WHAT? The persons who were tested and shown to be the biggest narcissists, all chose the WORST CANDIDATE for the job.
I found this quote to be very interesting:
“The narcissistic leaders had a very negative effect on their performance,” study researcher Barbora Nevicka said in a statement. “They inhibited the communication because of self-centeredness and authoritarianism.” But despite their poor performance, group members rated the most narcissistic leaders as the most effective. “Narcissists are very convincing,” Nevicka said.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a condition that is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, the need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually extremely self-assured, proud, and arrogant. They expect to be noticed as superior to everyone else. Many successful individuals may be seen as narcissistic, but this disorder actually disables an individual to function in a healthy manner in society and can cause great harm to those who love them if they interfere with their narcissistic supply.
Narcissus, while being the mythical figure for which NPD is named, really reflects those characteristics of that ancient serpent, the Devil himself. Satan in his arrogance and conceit wanted to be like the Most High God, and his rebellion is well documented in the scriptures. Those who are in the flesh often exhibit these tendencies as well, so we must ALL guard against narcissism and things which feed those tendencies in our Christian walk.
Narcissistic Leaders – Be On Your Guard Saints
If anyone has been part of an abusive church where charismatic leaders who exhibit narcissism have been present, these findings are not surprising at all. The issue with narcissists is that it matters not to them how they feed their narcissistic supply, whether they are loved or feared, whether they seek love through positive relationships with the people of God, or by authoritarianism and intimidation. They put up a “very convincing” front that they are effective spiritual leaders, but in reality, these hirelings are simply looking to fulfill themselves, and care nothing for the flock of God.
There are many narcissist personalities amongst us who have crept in unawares in pulpits today, projecting false authority, and the appearance of having things all together, but in their arrogance, they suppress all communication, sharing, and criticism from their congregations. Demanding accountability and dissenting against their authority will result in a narcissistic leader doing anything to keep that false air of confidence and power. They will destroy and scatter the sheep, and use controlling manipulative doctrines to do it. Like it was quoted earlier, their self-centeredness blinds them to the needs of the people they are supposed to be leading to Christ, mainly because they have created their own world (usually their own church building, structure, etc.) where they are preeminent in all things, and everyone else must bow, or suffer the consequences.
Concerning Controlling Narcissistic Pastor/Leaders, if there is a spiritual leader amongst you who exhibits many of these characteristics, tread very lightly with them, for these people because of their insecurities will try to destroy you emotionally, spiritually, physically etc. They will use scriptures out of context, they will guilt trip you into thinking you are disobeying God if you do not submit to them, they will induce trauma and indoctrinate with numerous improper fears and phobias aimed at keeping you reeling in diffidence and an over-dependence or co-dependence on them, and will not stop till they have satisfied themselves. You have to guard your heart because people like this, do not care about you, or the God you serve or His sheep.