Video: Does a CEO’s ego impact the bottom line?

CNBC
updated 9/6/2006 8:18:00 PM ET 2006-09-07T00:18:00

The ego of the CEO could very well determine how the company fares, according to a new psychological study that gets to the root of success. According to the author, when CEOs look in the mirror, they’re good enough, smart enough and people like them.

To narcissistic CEOs, like their companies, their world revolves around them. Corporate chiefs who love themselves can usually be counted on to love making money for the company.

“These are the people who are not satisfied just to make things better, or just to win at the game," said Michael Maccoby, author of The Productive Narcissist. "They want to create a new game. They want to make the world different."

Author Michael Maccoby rejects the negative stereotype of the “I love me” CEO and says a narcissistic personality can often be good for business, like Mr. Software Bill Gates, Steve Jobs rocking an iPod nation, Larry Paige and Sergey Brin revolutionizing the Internet and even daytime TV queen Oprah, hooking millions of faithful viewers. And of course, tech guru Larry Ellison, spawning the industry joke “What’s the difference between God and Larry Ellison? God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison.”

However, the self-worshipping boss is not always worthy of worship.

“If you look at Dennis Kozlowski, I mean he’s the biggest narcissist we had,” said Battalia Winston, CEO of Dale Winston. "He was a terrific leader and he’s in jail. And I don’t think that’s what goes into the future. And, there’s always former WorldCom head honcho Bernie Ebbers, not to mention Enron smart guy Jeff Skilling, barring a successful appeal, heading to jail.

“There are a number of narcissistic CEOs who have failed because of a lack of understanding how to create organization and how to create partnerships with other people”, said Maccoby.

Let’s not forget self-obsessed Hollywood. Home to the Walk of Fame. A new study finds celebs love themselves, especially reality TV stars. And when you pair reality TV with a narcissistic CEO you’ve got The Donald. But, an ego doesn’t guarantee the keys to the C-suite.

“The future is more about not only having to commit to your goals and your vision, but also being able to communicate your goals and your vision, not only to the troops within your company, not only your direct reports, but most importantly to get the board rallying around you without being an autocrat”, said Winston.

So next time you ask that mirror, mirror on the wall, make sure you’ve got the goods, and it’s not just smoke and mirrors.

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