Narcissism is booming in all spheres of the richest modern societies. Contemporary cultural trends are accelerating that the libido, conceived by Freud, of an increasing number of people is accumulating in an unbalanced way in the drive to fulfill and satisfy the desires to enjoy in oneself and for oneself without these being constrained in its aims, therefore, without achieving satisfaction, subsequently generate shame or guilt in the subject’s conscience despite transgressing certain social norms of what is considered correct, virtuous or selfless to benefit the common good; underlying, ahead of duty, the free exercise of self-interest with distinctive selfish ancestry.
An ongoing investigation by the Queen University of Belfast has uncovered a paradox: the narcissistic prototype (which they describe as an individual who has a disproportionately positive image of himself, prone to risk and initiative without addressing side effects, and with an obvious lack of empathy for others) turns out to be less prone than the average population to stress and depression. Then, it could be inferred that the springs of the dominant culture and its influence on collective psychology would be encouraging the results of those who hold that type of psychic apparatus instead of penalizing them and considering them as toxic or regressive (in this sense, it would be inhibiting and even voluntarily censoring critical thinking and the cultivation of humanism, while primitive developmental states based on leadership to a superior and charismatic leader, and blind or tacit obedience from the rest of the mass) would be rewarded.
Consequently, in the field of research on the evolution of leadership, the concern is focused on how to enhance ethics as a bastion of positive growth and containment mechanism against asphyxiating narcissism. The ideal chosen, from both academic and socioeconomic fields, to build an alternative and regenerative path has corresponded to empathy, which at the level of the discourse would become the pillar from which a social ecosystem that could be implanted in both companies and institutions to achieve the disruptive changes that the world will need in this next decade.
Empathy has a knowledge base that is more biological and psychological than philosophical or moral. It must be understood as a cognitive and instinctive predisposition (associated with the sexual and gregarious instincts) oriented towards the perception (listening and observation) and the understanding of the general situation (both material and emotional) of others that exist around us and with which we interrelated with more or less vital and affectionate intensity.
Empathy would be connecting our inner world with the outside, so that, through the mirror neurons, our brain reacts to the state of the person in front of us, bringing to our memory and vivification the memory we have of having gone through a experience similar or identical to the one we process.
It usually happens that, from that moment of recognition, we adjust our behavior and even our feelings to the situation in which, in our way of interpreting it, there is the Other. In summary, empathy is a circuit that allows you to capture information and meanings given off by your neighbor. Once they are decoded, the type of response we send may vary according to the motivations that direct the meaning of our will.
Is everything there? What would be the next step before an alleged scenario of suffering of the person with whom we work or with whom we live? It will depend on how we have introjected the duty in our conscience. Thus, it could happen that our empathic behavior was limited to an act of comfort. But there would also be a second possibility in which our involvement would move towards a more advanced stage, that is, we would take responsibility for his situation and try to help him, relieve him or save him from the trouble or trouble he is in.
We would enter the ethical terrain of compassion or, in other words, to discover suffering in the Other and wish to mitigate it, we would be immersing ourselves in the atroprophilia (as opposed to xenophobia). Here is the principle of rationality to cure runaway narcissism: love is not directed towards one’s body and mind, but towards the countenance of the human being that is held in the face of all others who are outside of me, already those who, in their difference, I am recognizing as my fellow men.
In the business field, the expectations of citizens and societies towards corporations are significantly increased in the fields of social, ethical and environmental. A substantial proportion of the Z generation wishes to commit itself and establish a bond of loyalty only with those companies that have a transcendent mission from which to address in some measure the crucial problems facing humanity. In this scenario, which I like to baptize as “the intensive demand for sustainable inspiration”, another recent investigation, in this case led by McKinsey, warns that there is no other possibility but to articulate a new strategic imperative governed by a triad of factors binding: first, you have to work on the social meaning of the company’s actions (so all of them must be able to deploy them); second, to guarantee the transparency of activities and, finally, to praise empathy as the supreme value from which to lead and legitimize the authority model. If this aspirational program, supposedly raised as what is natural for the new generations, becomes a structure of beliefs within collective psychology, it is difficult to disregard the exploration of a new type of mentality applied to leadership: the leader will be the one that favors the hontanar so that changes of systemic order happen.
An ongoing investigation by Queen University of Belfast argues that the narcissist prototype is less prone to stress and depression.
In this direction, researchers Lisa Dreier, David Nabarro and Jane Nelson, endorsed by the World Economic Forum and the Harvard Kennedy School, are trying to articulate the formula of system leader, from which the subject of authority would exceed the limits of his company, acquiring the conviction to exert his influence far beyond a conventional range of action: the aim would be to participate in the transformation of complete systems of ideological, institutional and institutional structures and processes. Industrial Therefore, the general premise of this proposal would start from identifying an extremely complex system that would limit or hinder a benign or progressive change (or that would be promoting the perpetuation of inequality or any type of social or ecological damage), and try to address it through a high skill in knowing how to create alliances between heterogeneous and even antagonistic factions in certain aspects. This way of practicing the art of diplomacy to discover common interests and values in the midst of entropy, disarming predatory nationalism and expelling prejudice, hatred and resentment, would come to be cultivated through a behavior of humility and collaboration guidelines devoid of of ego, and it would have little to do with either tenderness or gentleness, but would enlighten the embrace of a perennial desire to face superhuman challenges and solve that thing that always turns out to be the most difficult and elusive.
The sociologist Max Weber guessed with insight that a happy person is not content to be. You need to know that you have the right to be: “He needs his happiness to be legitimate” This quest to achieve a desire still to be satisfied is what drives the urgency of empathy. The company of this century acquires the need for its success to be legitimate in plans that exceed those that correspond to the economic logic: the age of empathy thus acquires a place in business theory, and this implies that the embodiment of leadership mobilize towards normalization and care for others. This last significant could well be the vision of the future and the progress of the story of a socially responsible company over the next ten years. 2030 is already around the corner.