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Narcissism Test: Public Health Leadership

Introduction

After completing the value assessment test, I realized that most of the things I value in life are products of my self-development goals. I also found out that my views of life also greatly influence my value system. Some of my most important issues, which I highlighted in the test, include justice, fairness, individual dignity, wisdom, maturity, happiness, ambition, hard work, and a sense of accomplishment. In all these metrics, I scored a value of “1.” These values integrate into my work practice. After all, I decided to pursue a career in the health sector because I wanted to contribute to societal development. For example, this is why having a “contribution and a sense of accomplishment” is an important part of my value system. Issues that have the least impact on my value system include leisure, spiritual salvation, love, and affection. These issues rank lower in my list of values because they are subjective to me.

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According to Dowell, Tappero, and Frieden (2011), the above values may influence my role as a public health leader because they would affect my service delivery standards. I also believe they could affect how I empathize with patients and dictate the level of effort I choose to contribute to certain health activities (including my choice of specific public health programs). For example, since I perceive justice and fairness as important elements in my value system, I am bound to advocate for health programs that promote this principle. Companies that deliberately pollute the environment, or condone negligent activities, are likely to get my attention in this regard. Similarly, since happiness is a core tenet of my value system, I am most likely bound to engage in health programs that have a social impact that makes me happy. This element of my value system is also bound to align with my appreciation for having a strong contribution and a sense of accomplishment in my endeavors.

Based on the above insights, I suggest that public health administrators should strive to understand the value systems of health workers and to know how to allocate different roles and duties to them, based on this criterion. I believe that this way, health administrators would benefit from improved employee productivity because health workers are often happier and more involved in health programs that appeal to their value systems (Tappero & Frieden, 2011). In my experience, I find myself more engaged in my work, compared to my colleagues, because my health programs appeal to my value systems. Nonetheless, the biggest question to ask, in this assessment, is which are the best ways to integrate people’s values with their work?

Emotional Intelligence Assessment

My emotional intelligence assessment revealed that I have the highest ratings for “building blocks” and the lowest ratings for my “social skills.” Stated differently, I found that all the 13 questions asked in the “building blocks” segment were true, while the two questions asked in the social skills segment were false. Only three questions asked in the “empathy for others” section were false, while only two questions asked in the “managing emotions and self-regulation” section ranked in the same way. I also rated two questions in the self-awareness section as false, while the self-motivation section only had only one false answer. Based on this assessment, I have found out that I need to improve my social skills. However, I have also discovered that I am more self-aware of myself than I previously thought.

The above insights may influence my role as a public health leader because leaders are supposed to show high levels of emotional intelligence, especially regarding their interactions with other people (Lindebaum & Cartwright, 2010). If we focus on the concept of self-awareness, we find that this virtue could help me to understand how I feel and how my actions affect others. Similarly, by being self-aware, I would have a good understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Such competencies would also add to my humility. The above insights would also help me to understand the importance of self-regulation. According to Leischow and Milstein (2006), such a characteristic prevents leaders from having outbursts, or verbally attacking other people. In other words, such characteristics would help me to stay in control. Based on these dynamics, emotional intelligence could help me improve my effectiveness as a public health leader by improving my interactions with other people.

In my experience, I have come to learn that all leaders should understand how their actions affect their subjects and those who are around them. For example, in my experience as a public health officer, who has participated in different community health programs in AIDS prevention, I have come to learn that the better a leader can relate with other stakeholders, the better outcomes they are likely to have. Integrating my scores on emotional intelligence and having seen effective public health leaders in action, I have also come to understand that most successful public health leaders are emotionally intelligent. Therefore, emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership because a person could have the best technical skills, analytical training skills, or an endless supply of great ideas, but, without emotional intelligence, they would not make great public health leaders (Borkowski, Deckard, Weber, Padron, & Luongo, 2011). Since we understand the different attributes of emotional intelligence (as highlighted in the emotional intelligence test), it is important to ask, how could aspiring public health leaders increase each element of emotional intelligence?

Assessment of Proactive Behaviors

My assessment of proactive behaviors revealed a score of 29 out of 40. This score indicated that I was moderately proactive (a score of between 30 and 40 reveals shows high levels of proactive behaviors, while a score of 10-20 shows low levels of proactive behaviors) (Nahavandi, 2014). My test scores reveal that, often, I would like to take control and make things happen, as opposed to waiting to react to situations. According to Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, Jacobs, and Fleishman (2000), such proactive assessment tests are not for use in specific health situations, but rather, opportunistically, to manage a series of health problems.

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My moderately proactive qualities could be useful in improving my role as a public health leader because they could help in pre-empting public health disasters (Poplin, 2015). Similarly, this personality trait could help in highlighting public health issues that are “hidden” in government statistics. In the same manner, it would help to highlight most public health issues that I believe are important but are often in direct conflict with government policy. Proactive behaviors would also improve my competency in risk management because they could help me to plan my activities, or programs, well enough to minimize inconsistencies and weaknesses in public health management plans. This way, I would be in a good position to give guidance to other public health professionals on how to go about addressing specific health problems or managing specific health threats. Through the same competency, I would be in a good position to coordinate most health departments for the fulfillment of health goals.

Since there are different measures of proactive behaviors, such as Bateman & Crant’s measure of ‘proactive personality and the trait disposition of behaviors, there need to be specific measures for assessing proactive behaviors in the public health sector (Poplin, 2015). For example, the dispositional proactive behavior test is not appropriate for testing proactive behaviors among workers in specific health care contexts (Poplin, 2015). In such tests, many researchers have highlighted different measures of assessing proactive behaviors, such as assessing individual innovation, and career initiatives, but most of these measures rely on individual self-assessment techniques. In my view, this approach provides an opportunity for people to include personal biases in their analyses. A better approach would be allowing other people to evaluate their colleagues. For example, an institution could allow a superior to evaluate their juniors. Similarly, administrators could allow colleagues to evaluate their superiors. However, such a proposal is still controversial because some people could question – who is a better judge of proactive behaviors, a person under evaluation or third parties?

Assessment of Narcissism

In my assessment of narcissistic traits, I was surprised to find out that I had the highest score in terms of having a sense of entitlement and in terms of exhibiting subtle traits of arrogance/superiority. My least scores were in “exploitation” and “the desire for power.” My highest scores were 13 and 13 for “self-entitlement” and “arrogance” respectively. However, interpretations of these scores show that they could be manifestations of high self-esteem and effective leadership (Nahavandi 2014). Furthermore, they are average scores of narcissism because the highest score one could have in each category is 24. Nonetheless, my low scores on “exploitation” and “the desire for power” did not come as a surprise to me because I do not consider myself as “power-hungry” and I do not wish to exploit people either. I believe this view aligns with my career in the public health sector, which focuses on servitude. Nonetheless, my overall score shows that I am not narcissistic.

The above insights may influence my role as a public health leader by making me more receptive to working with people from different backgrounds because I realize that narcissism is not necessarily a positive trait in my line of work. By being more self-aware of my characteristics, and the characteristics of narcissistic people, I would strive to minimize undesirable/narcissistic tendencies in my behaviors to make myself more appealing to my colleagues because I recognize that most people dislike narcissistic people (Koh, 2009). Indeed, the inclination towards self-centeredness does not augur well with the goal of public health work, which is to serve communities and not serve oneself.

Regarding the above remarks, I suggest that before health administrators consider public health workers for leadership positions, they should demand a narcissism test. Those who score highly in such tests should not stand a chance of selection because they are more likely to have a difficult time serving other people, or working with others (Dowell et al., 2011). However, those that score lower in such tests should have the priority to occupy positions of leadership because they are likely to serve other people better. My experience in different public health programs affirms the same view. Nonetheless, the main question we should ask ourselves, in this regard, is what are the policy and legal ramifications of introducing such a test requirement for leadership in the public health sector?

References

Borkowski, N., Deckard, G., Weber, M., Padron, L.A., & Luongo, S. (2011). Leadership development initiatives underlie individual and system performance in a US public healthcare delivery system, Leadership in Health Services, 24(4), 268 – 280. Web.

Dowell, S. F., Tappero, J. W., &Frieden, T. R. (2011). Public health in Haiti: Challenges and progress. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(4), 300-301. Web.

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Koh, H. (2009). Fostering public health leadership. Journal of Public Health, 31(2), 199–201. Web.

Leischow, S. J., & Milstein, B. (2006). Systems thinking and modeling for public health practice. American Journal of Public Health, 96(3), 403-405. Web.

Lindebaum, D., & Cartwright, S. (2010). A critical examination of the relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. Journal of Management Studies, 47(7), 1317-1342. Web.

Mumford, M. D., Zaccaro, S. J., Harding, F. D., Jacobs, T. O., & Fleishman, E. A. (2000). Leadership skills for a changing world: Solving complex social problems. Leadership Quarterly, 11(1), 11-35. Web.

Nahavandi, A. (2014). The art and science of leadership (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Poplin, G. (2015). Establishing a proactive safety and health risk management system in the fire service. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 407-409. Web.

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