Dangers of Narcissism

Does vanity has a place in organizations that promote consensus building, equal opportunities and equal rights anchored on universally accepted principles? Can the presence of leaders that claim to be responsible on positive changes without regard to other peoples’ contributions suffer from egotism that can ruin an organization? Maybe some cooperatives are not exempted on the presence of some officers and management staff that often display arrogance towards fellow cooperators and the general public in their respective comfort zones. Can narcissism leads to manipulation that allows some people to always think they are better than others?

As I advocate for positive changes in organizations through reforms in all aspects be it on the structure, human resource and policies it is but fitting to look into how some people perform in the organization. Add to the challenges of human behavior is the diversity in culture and work ethics of people in a given entity. The challenges can be beneficial to the organization when taken in its right perspective. Each of us belong to institutions and the best way we can learn is to examine ourselves and determine our limitations.

Mark B. Castrodes in his book “The Public Speaker Leads” defined narcissism as an inordinate fascination of oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. Some persons are raised believing that they are the best in the world and could never be second to anyone. Some parents spoil kids materially and psychologically. Some kids grow up thinking that they rule the home and their parents and everyone in it live to do their bidding.  This sort of parenting, according to some psychologists, could lead to a case of narcissism. Extreme narcissism could prevent the person from ever being ready to face the challenge of Public Speaking.

This situation calls for all cooperators to guard their own ranks from people who possess superiority complex. Similarly, we parents need to examine the way we train our children at home to encourage them speak up. Let us mold them to be responsible citizens in the things they do at home and outside the community. Having this in mind allow us to train future cooperative leaders and staff that can put across what they think is best for the organization and its positive impact to the host communities.

My observation during cooperative activities indicated that some cooperative officers, management and staff can freely express their thoughts. Some attentively listen and some participants have small group discussions while the speaker is talking. But I am worried on some information that some officers and employees of cooperatives insist on what they like to happen within the organization contrary to policies and assigned functions. An example is the case of one cooperative wherein one Board of Director together with a Treasurer would like to terminate the services of one employee?  Considering their positions in the cooperative, are they allowed to act on such matter? Could this be a governance and management issue or could it be traced to personal behavior of individuals acquired throughout their life? Another example is the case of two cooperatives(allegedly sister company) in the City of Baguio that were not registered with CDA but are already enticing the public with some promised benefits as published in one local weekly newspaper (not Herald Express). The organizers even hired employees to work for them without the proper juridical personality to engage in cooperative business. This affront could be taken in two perspectives, it might be ignorance of the law; and it could be deceit purposely to siphon money at the expense of others.     

Drawing insights from the situations above requires us to build stronger organizations. Let us develop our communication skills like public speaking so as we can interact with people around us and not be afraid of expressing our thoughts especially on issues that affect the cooperative movement. Cooperative leaders, management staff and members must be keen enough to identify situations that need to be resolve through collective efforts and safeguard institutions against unscrupulous people masquerading as cooperative leaders. We should not be used nor allow ourselves as accessories.

As individuals with noble intentions to help people grow, the best we can do is encourage people to trust and invest in duly registered entities in our localities with proven track records. Asserting our right to know the details of every enterprise we engage in can help solve problems on wasted resources due to unfavorable decisions. We don’t mean newly organized institutions are not good but they still need to show their strengths. Given the increase in the number of financial and non-financial institutions including cooperatives, success in business operations cannot be measured overnight.

Finally, the way we approach challenges in life differ. Others take it lightly while some have it the hard way. No matter what happens, life is too short; we need to make the most precise decision favorable to all. Narcissism may derail productivity and quality but the antidote is within us—our moral ascendancy.

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