It is said that a person who has no one to answer to can become a dangerous individual. Unlimited power without unlimited compassion encourages unlimited corruption. In addition, it leads to the development of a character disorder rendering individuals the inability to recognize inappropriate behavior. In fact, they can become so disturbed they are unable to see they have a problem.
For numerous generations, people have encountered and coped with individuals suffering from character disorders. One of the most noteworthy, yet least understood, is the narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists have a tendency to self-worship. According to family therapist, Eleanor Payson (2002), NPD is an all too common affliction among those who wield great political and corporate power in contemporary society. The complete self-absorption of an NPD person results in a treacherous propensity to devalue those within their sphere of influence, either subtly with condescension, or openly with criticism (Payson, 2002). Based on what I read about Steve Jobs, I have come to the conclusion that although he was indeed a very effective and productive leader, his personality also revealed a deeply disturbed individual that lacked emotional intelligence which was displayed by the unethical choices he made throughout his career and in the manner he treated people both in his professional and personal life.
As confident self-assured individuals, most charismatic leaders display an inclination towards narcissistic behavior. However, there are healthy and unhealthy levels of narcissism. It appears Jobs exhibited many traits of an NPD persona. It is clear he demonstrated severe limitations in understanding other people feelings or their needs (Baack, 2012). He did not engage in rules of reciprocity and appeared to have no concern over the consequences of his choices due to the tunnel vision focus he incorporated as a means to achieve his goals.
I have lived and worked with individuals that displayed symptoms of NPD and only recently have I begun to identify these individuals to heal from their abusive behavior and make sense of this unorthodox mindset. I do not respect individuals who do not value others and consciously make choices when I am able, to avoid engaging with them or supporting their institutions. In fact, after reading about the kind of leader Steve Jobs was, I’m seriously rethinking my Apple products!