Will being An Ass Help You be Successful?
There are countless examples of people that over their extraordinary careers have been assholes with the people in their team and despite that they have accomplished great things.
Great leader examples
Some examples of extraordinary people that achieved extraordinary success and have been assholes are Steve Jobs, Orson Welles or Stanley Kubrick. In different fields, all of them have been great achievers.
Leaders being dicks
You can read about James Cameron terrorizing his actors to the point of mental breakdown on “The abyss” or about Stanley Kubrick and Shelley Duvall during the production of “The Shining” and how he managed to traumatize her so she would give what he considered a great performance. Or Michael Bay that apparently is the king of dick directors.
Is it justified to be an asshole if you are in a position of power?
But is this a cause of inflated ego and of an abuse of power?
Do you have to be a dick to be a great leader? Do you have to be an asshole to be successful in your career?
Are people more receptive when you are moody and snappy?
What a great leader is made of
The thing that great leaders have that everyone else doesn’t is that they have a very clear vision of what the world should look like.
We are talking here about really great leaders like Gandhi, Maria Teresa de Calcuta, Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, etc.
Leaders always think that the world is not right. That the world needs some fixing. And that they know how and what has to change and in what way.
They have a very clear need of identity. They need to know who they are. And that they achieve by creating their ideal self. It is by having a sense of what they want to become that they start to shape an ideal world in which that ideal self could work at its fullest potential. This means that eventually they create a vision of what the world should look like. This means that they eventually start to create that ideal world to translate that idea into reality. This means that eventually he/she will find obstacles along the way that would be in direct conflict with his/her ideal world that he is trying to create.
This is when they usually get moody and snappy…
So back to our main question “Will being an Ass Help You be Successful?”.
The answer to that is that if you are an asshole and period, that won’t take you anywhere. People that are an asshole for the sake of being an asshole will only piss people off and won’t change anything.
We are not talking about plain assholes here. We are talking about leaders being assholes.
Characteristics of GREAT leaders
Dr. Michael Maccoby has written extensively on leadership.
His take on what makes a leader is that a leader should have/be:
- Undeniable charisma
- Unshakable conviction
- Not listening to anyone except for themselves
- Slightly paranoid
- Lacking in empathy
- Occasionally Cruel
Ergo, a leader should and has to be a narcissist.
“Narcissists lacks a strong superego but has instead an ego ideal. You can see it in some of the great leaders like Lincoln or Barack Obama in his autobiography. He needs to create a sense of who he is. And those people are people that are driven to be leaders, because they have a vision, they have a sense of what they want to create, how they want to change the world.”
That’s why sometimes leaders are abusive. Because they have such a powerful vision… and they are going to make sure they realize it.