Changing Strong Willed Leaders Minds

Convincing a strong-willed, perhaps narcissistic, leader to change their mind is challenging, some possibilities:

  1. Ask them to explain how things work, or how their way will work. It will reveal gaps in their knowledge.
  2. Let them guide the discussion, forceful persuasion has a reverse effect on people convinced of their ability to effect outcomes. Subtler “idea planting” is often more effective than a full court press.
  3. Praising a narcissist can work, as long as you are not praising them for the thing you are trying to get them to change their mind about (e.g. their decision making ability).
  4. Defending your ideas, iterate upon them, and continuing to fight for your conviction often promotes respect in adversarial or disagreeable people who relish conflict. Agreeing may be your eventual outcome, but putting up a fight is much more advantageous than rolling over.



Grant, A. Persuading the Unpersuadable. Harvard business review (2021).

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