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Distribution Leadership – Lead Wolf – Lone Wolf Or The Narcissist

By Maurice D. Yamamoto

CEOs or Presidents, who attain positions of power, reach these positions for a variety of reasons. The reasons are not really always a result of competency and hard work; these positions are not really usually earned. As a result employees find themselves under the rule of various kinds of leaders. Even those leaders that have earned their position can be impossible to work for and it is difficult to be elated and satisfied doing it. Presidents and CEOs are typically seen as sources of motivation and direction. But what is frequently overlooked is the fact that they not really just motivate their management team but they receive motivation and even direction based on the responses from the employees below them.

What type of leader do you work for?

The Lead Wolf style of leadership is prosperous because these leaders take the time to listen, imagine and investigate numerous alternatives. With the involvement of people they forge creative solutions to difficult problems. They challenge their people to stretch, go beyond their previous boundaries and think outside the box. Successful leaders feed off their people and allow their people to feed off of them. They give credit where credit is due. They give recognition as a means of gaining respect. They believe individuals can make a difference. Through these methods they learn to create brand new insights and possibilities. Successful leadership means creating a sense of urgency, getting mutual commitment to action. Action steps are always plainly defined and precise.

The Lone Wolf leader at the top dominates with power. They are autocratic and intimidating. They often believe that employees are a necessary inconvenience and aren’t capable of creativity and innovation. More frequently than not, they embrace “seat of the pants” based on intuitive judgment leadership style. This allows them maximum flexibility and “shoot from the hip responsiveness.” However, today’s environment demands a stable more administrative structure that requires a change in the nature of past leadership practices. Simply put, it is an evolution from a extremely reactive, autocratic individualistic style to a much more empowering, people employee oriented proactive style. It’s about going from a “Lone Wolf” leadership style to a “Lead Wolf” leadership style that has confidence in the employee’s ability to make things happen and empowers the employees to get the job done.

The Narcissist leader is frequently extremely successful. In fact there may be a certain amount of narcissism in all of us. However, the narcissism that exists must be balanced with respect in our relationship with our employees. Excessive narcissism from a psychological standpoint is considered a personality disorder.

I personally have worked for two Narcissist CEO’s during my career. Both of them were very vain, egotistical, conceited, self-centered and paranoid. Each demonstrated one or more of those character flaws to an extreme. One really threw a stapler at his secretary. Another had bugging devices installed in his executive team’s offices. Both were believed to have Bi-Polar personalities by many although a professional diagnosis was never revealed for either.

How Do I Survive in a Narcissist Environment?

Managing your BOSS requires skill. Intelligence alone isn’t enough. It requires leadership skill on your part. Excellent communication skills are a prerequisite and self confidence in your own ability is a must to support your actions. Delivering excellent results for every assignment will not only gain their confidence but can really create a dependence on their part. They will come to rely on you to make them look good.

Continue to make suggestions, express ideas that support the CEOs personal initiatives that will bring them success and credit. This is particularly helpful if they can gain the credit while you take the risk. Allow the CEO to take credit for your ideas and shoulder the blame for those that don’t work out. Is this risky? Sure it is but if you want to survive or actually thrive under a narcissist it is a risk worth taking. Of course, you could also just walk but that option isn’t always practical.

Understand the Narcissist Ego

Managing or only surviving a Narcissist BOSS is difficult at best. Building a relationship with a Lone Wolf or Narcissist CEO is based upon an understanding of and a capacity to manage the narcissism of the CEO. This means you must establish a balance between expressing your opinions; ideas and candid remarks while utilizing your knowledge of the CEOs need to maintain his acknowledge position of power in the organization. A narcissist CEO and some Lone Wolf CEOs have an inflated sense of self. They openly demonstrate there feelings of superiority, entitlement (especially in family run businesses) and an insatiable need for attention and admiration.

Mange Your Risk

Narcissist CEOs frequently trust extremely few people. As a result they might allow their spouse to become extremely influential with regard to their leadership style. Some might actually employ their spouse in the workplace. Their creation of this spousal influence and dependence can be risky for you. One Narcissist CEO I worked for was single but used his girl friend who was employed as my administrative assistant to fill this role. The risk lies not really only in trying to manage that relationship if they are also employed at the company but this dependence and influence can actually isolate the CEO from his executive team because this influence broadly will support his grandiose ideas. Additionally they feed his paranoia. Be conscious at all times of the following character traits:

o All employees are expected to think the way he/she does

o Their strategies are frequently dynamic but grandiose

o They trust only their own insights

o They can be charming, glib, accommodating but often are manipulative, deceitful, ruthless and destructive

Are Narcissist Leaders Successful?

Just as Lone Wolf autocratic leaders were very prosperous in the seventies and eighties many narcissist leaders can be very effective. In fact some extremely famous leaders are considered narcissists by some. People like Jack Welsch of General Electric, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple to name a few. These three CEOs are all very successful; however, they may be the exception to the rule. Look at Enron and World Com. They aren’t actually just aberrations. Personally, I believe they represent what can happen when ineffective leadership driven by narcissism creates a cancer at the top that becomes malignant and begins to filter throughout the management regime. These leaders and many others were undeservedly worshiped when the perception of success and gigantic profits disguised their real character traits and leadership model. Profit covers many sins including the sins of the CEO. It allows us to ignore physiological brainwashing, manipulation, con artistry, exploitation and abusive behavior. They are very insensitive to respect for employees.

There are many narcissist CEOs at the helm of numerous corporations today. The challenge of ownership, first generation founders and executive teams reporting to these CEOs is to insure that these leaders don’t self destruct and lead the company into a death spiral. This becomes an very difficult task for all involved because a true narcissist doesn’t actually understand their own issues let alone the willingness to work through them. Narcissists need professional counseling to help them accept reality and recognize their limitations. Their extreme independence, paranoia and self preservation create a wall that takes a bunker busting bomb to break through.

The Lead Wolf Model of Leadership

Effective leaders must have an edge. They must be brave enough to take risk and have an unrelenting readiness to act. Popularity is not really a requirement, but the ability to generate respect from the employees is, without a doubt, one of the most critical attributes. They must be relentless in their efforts, unconcerned about personal sacrifice of their time, and willing to go beyond normal expectations. Tough decisions are commonplace; uncharted territories will be the norm. Honesty and impeccable character are musts.

Leaders get results. They make things happen. They continually advance a clear agenda, get others to buy in and move the organization to accomplish specific objectives. They are explicit, consistent, concise and sincere. They generally have an abundance of charisma although some leaders gain success with a quieter influence. Lead Wolf leaders take charge and are not really scared of responsibility or risk. Most people want to follow them. A fine leader develops openness, honesty, clarity of purpose and a sincere caring for the people they lead. They gain commitment and trust by demonstrating respect for the individual. They have a keen sense of understanding. They believe in their task, they understand the objectives, they communicate clearly and they frankly project the understanding that they need the efforts of everyone to succeed. That’s the Lead Wolf model of leadership. It’s all about believing in employees and their ability to create success. E-mail for the Lead Wolf leadership thought provoker checklist and sign up for The Howl leadership newsletter.

The author has written more about silver wolf charm and wolf charm on his site, check them out: and silver wolf charm.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Yamamoto, Maurice D. "Distribution Leadership – Lead Wolf – Lone Wolf Or The Narcissist." Distribution Leadership – Lead Wolf – Lone Wolf Or The Narcissist. 10 Jul. 2010. 27 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Yamamoto, M (2010, July 10). Distribution Leadership – Lead Wolf – Lone Wolf Or The Narcissist. Retrieved August 27, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Yamamoto, Maurice D. "Distribution Leadership – Lead Wolf – Lone Wolf Or The Narcissist"

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