Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Obama explained

Add this to other attempts to explain Obama's meteoric rise from mildly unsuccessful community organizer through mildly ineffective (but present!) state and US senator to failed president.

This is a pretty succinct explanation of how he rose to such dizzying heights (his supporters were gulled by his narcissistic self confidence) only to fail abysmally (plain old incompetence):

Narcissists rise to the top. That's because other people think their qualities-- confidence, dominance, authority, and self-esteem -- make them good leaders.

Is that true? "Our research shows that the opposite seems to be true," says Barbora Nevicka, a PhD candidate in organizational psychology, describing a new study she undertook with University of Amsterdam colleagues Femke Ten Velden, Annebel De Hoogh, and Annelies Van Vianen. The study found that the narcissists' preoccupation with their own brilliance inhibits a crucial element of successful group decision-making and performance: the free and creative exchange of information and ideas.

Although Obama plays the part of a non-partisan advancer of worthy ideas, it often seems to be when he faces resistance that he doesn't understand and doesn't want to deal with. He may compromise too readily and duck tough decisions, but he sure does think the world of himself. Just count the number of times he refers to himself in speeches to see that not only does he think the world revolves around him, he thinks it ought to.

I imagine that if asked, he would publically downplay the great man theory of history, but privately sees himself as one of the select few tapped to alter his nation's destiny.

The take away from the study? I leave it one of the co-authors: "You have to ask: Are the competencies they project valid, or are they merely in the eyes of the beholder?"

In this case, the beholders were duped, but hopefully not lastingly.

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