Branding is often equated with manipulation. Unfortunately, some people can indeed take advantage of its tactics to succeed at work, and in the process step on the very people they are supposed to lead.
They are encouraged to do so because metrics of CEO performance have little or nothing to do with genuinely treating people well.
“Narcissism is characterized by traits such as dominance, self-confidence, a sense of entitlement, grandiosity, and low empathy.There is growing evidence that individuals with these characteristics often emerge as leaders, and that narcissistic CEOs may make more impulsive and risky decisions.”
Certainly CEOs are not punished for having poor people skills or even evaluated based on the quality of their interactions with other people.
This is true even though we hear over and over again that “people are an organization’s most important asset.” See for example:
Harvard’s CEO rankings are not based on “people skills” at all!
See below the basis of the rankings and the weights associated with them:
Stock performance (80%): 1) total shareholder return 2) change in market capitalization (which is the cost of a share times the number of shares outstanding)
Responsibility performance (“ESG”) (20%): A combined measure of the company’s performance on 1) environmental impact 2) social responsibility and 3) quality of governance (Research Methodology)
Here’s the bottom line: When we put our metrics where our mouths are, we will stop seeing mini-dictatorships crop up in in professional organizations. This will be an automatic byproduct of a different kind of “normal” business climate, one in which we stop tolerating leaders with personality disorders and only hire people who routinely treat others with human decency.
This question was originally posed on Quora. This blog is a repost of my answer there. All opinions my own. Photo by Víctor Nuño via Flickr (Creative Commons).