There are executives who think they are important to an organization and there are those who really are.
The demands and ego posturing of the former usually far exceed the quantifiable and subjective value they bring to the enterprise. The latter are those who consistently deliver excellent results and can and will do more, if asked.
Great leaders know which is what, and reward those truly talented executives who can and will do more without all the distractions and drama of the executive/politicians. They routinely reach down into the organization — directly and indirectly — to let that individual know they are valued. They create an enterprise-wide talent evaluation system that rewards the people who consistently deliver and, if necessary, weed out those prima donnas who are threatened or who want to take all the credit.
A bad leader values relationships, and sometimes the sparkly flash over results, and takes advantage of the real value generators by not rewarding them financially, or, worse, having them report to mediocre, insecure talent. Those who think they are important are more likely to usurp the credit for great ideas and, in the end, drive off the real contributors.
When a leader tolerates the pretenders and allows the real achievers to languish in that kind of toxic environment, they are setting the table for the beginning of the end. When a business fails, more often than not, the genesis of this failure can be traced to a bad leader who was tone deaf in assessing talent.
Or, he or she was so insecure that they surrounded themselves with executives who just thought they were important.