Why it may be wise to be skeptical of people who claim to have all the answers

Concepts discussed:

  • narcissim = someone who will use whatever tactic they can to get what they want. Narcissists typically use tactics that get people to listen and follow directions without questioning. This sometimes leads to individuals doing things that aren’t in their best interest. Some narcissists believe they have a special quality and should be listened to by others and think they can never or are rarely wrong.

Dr. Yeomans is a psychiatrist that in the video below provides a perspective of why people join or follow narcissistic cultures and individuals. The video also speaks to the challenges one faces when leaving such structures. A lot of the video revolves around belief systems which makes sense if you’ve ever observed how beliefs can be one of if not the most powerful tool for influencing human behavior.

Life is a challenge. You have to put effort into meeting it, and there are some shortcuts or easy ways out. One of the easy ways out is a narcissistic structure. Somebody who has all the answers. It could be a patriarchal family, it could be a cult where they say ‘trust me…this is the path to goodness.’ Narcissism structures the person… it answers questions they don’t know how to answer.”
Frank Yeomans in YouTube video Breaking out of Narcissm (link below)

At the end of the day we’re all humans so for someone to suggest they have certainty in how life works or how all humans should or do behave is something to be cautious of to avoid manipulation.

Narcissistic structures exist in business too

I think a similar phenomenon happens in business where employees don’t challenge or question ideas and initiatives from leadership. This lack of interrogation can be a reason why some products and businesses fail; a leader might be effective in certain aspects of the business but because they’re human and imperfect it’s unlikely they’ll always have the right answers. Consequently, blindly listening to leadership directives likely puts business outcomes at risk.

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