Narcissistic Personality Disorders in the Workplace
“Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence.” — Sam Vaknin
In the workplace, it is important to be aware of narcissistic traits and behaviours as people with Narcissistic Personality Disorders (NPD) can lead to an overall toxic work environment where employees feel unable to contribute their best ideas due to fear of criticism or negative feedback.
Have you ever had a boss with an attitude “it’s my way or the highway”? Or a colleague who takes all the credit for a project?
Chances are they may be suffering from NPD or at the very least have some narcissistic tendencies.
Here are some signs to watch for if you suspect your boss may be exhibiting undesirable behaviours:
Exploitation of employees → They are often more concerned with power and control than building relationships with their staff.
Arrogance → Bosses may be too proud to ask for help and delegating tasks can be difficult for them.
Lack of accountability → They often do not take responsibility for their mistakes and will blame others instead.
Self-importance → A narcissistic boss believes they are more important or special than others.
Need to be admired → They crave constant recognition and adoration.
Extreme sensitivity → Narcissistic bosses tend to react disproportionately to criticism, even if it is constructive.
Having a peer or an employee with NPD can also be just as challenging.
Their self-centred nature and attention seeking behaviour can make it hard for other employees to feel respected or appreciated.
Grandiosity, manipulative tactics and poor judgement are traits making them quite unreliable at times.
It’s likely they will have a complete lack of awareness of their mannerisms and will be able to rationalise their behaviour if confronted, even when it’s glaringly obvious to others.
Working with someone with NPD can be emotionally draining and extremely demotivating.
It’s not easy handling someone who thinks so highly of their own ideas and opinions that they don’t care about anyone else’s.
But don’t let them get you down—here are some tips on how to deal with people with narcissist tendencies in the workplace.
Focus on the Task at Hand
It is important to remember that dealing with someone with NPD is not about trying to change them; it’s about getting through the situation without letting their behaviour affect you or your work.
Keep your conversations focused on what needs to be done and try not to get drawn into debates or arguments.
By keeping the conversation focused on work, you will help ensure that it remains productive even if it isn’t pleasant.
No matter how frustrating a conversation may be, it is important to remain professional.
This means addressing issues face-to-face instead of gossiping behind someone’s back, avoiding name-calling or any other form of disrespectful language, and understanding that everyone has different styles of communication.
If possible, avoid getting into heated debates by staying calm and polite.
Not only will it make it easier for all involved to remain civil even when discussing difficult topics, it will also help you sleep better at night, knowing you’re an amazing person!
If someone tries to take advantage of you or cross boundaries, don’t just sit there and take it—set boundaries and stick to them!
Let them know when their words or actions are making you uncomfortable and explain why they need to stop.
Setting boundaries can ensure that everyone respects each other’s space and prevents harmful situations from escalating.
Dealing with colleagues with NPD can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be an impossible task.
You need to be aware that they crave control and power. Compliment them openly, downplay their mistakes and always make sure they don’t feel inferior in front of others.
Ultimately, keep realistic expectations for interactions with people with NPD and try to get the job done regardless of credit or recognition.
Remember: You can remain firm without being unkind! With these tips in mind, hopefully you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way when dealing with difficult situations at work.
If you or someone you know is struggling with someone who has the above tendencies, please consider reaching out for professional help. Support groups, therapy, and counselling can provide valuable tools for coping with individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on dealing with difficult people in the workplace, or to schedule a consultation with one of our experts. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the support and resources you need.