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The narcissistic leader is exhausting to work with. The need to be the centerpiece of every conversation, his fishing for compliments, his need to diminish others so he can feel good about himself are some of what he is about. If he can’t change the conversation to be about him, then he’s not going to be a part of it. He uses others for his advantage, make shameless comments, (if you don’t like me, leave the church) and believes others envy how great he is. He is so much work.

In the church context, the narcissistic pastor will walk around the fellowship hall conversing with nearly everyone who will give him attention. As he does this, note that he will be the funny one in the group, he will find ways to direct the conversation to bring attention to himself, and if there is any issue that really needs to be talked about, he will find a way to make himself the hero.

In the council room, he will only engage in directive and administrative issues if he can find a way to be important and noticed. Should he be confronted, he will distort the reality of what happened and blame others for what he did. His entitlement issues are his grounds for doing as he wants — after all he is special.

The reason why he acts the way he does is about his low self-esteem. It’s as if he’s hollow inside. With little to no self-esteem or feelings of self-worth, he fears going to explore who he really is. If he would, he knows he would crash. Therefore, the need for ongoing strokes from others to make himself feel better is crucial. He can’t live without it.

So the next time you walk away from a leader and you feel confused about what that was all about, it’s possible you have just conversed with a narcissist.

Judy De Wit 

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