How to Deal with Narcissists at Work

14th August 2020by Krishna Gangadhar0
Action Adult Advice

“He/She blows his own trumpet on contrary to reality. He makes jokes at expense of others to belittle them. He dumps his mistakes on everyone at the drop of a hat. He has to be the centre of attraction and demands undivided attention at all times. He is least bothered about other’s emotions. Heck! He doesn’t even understand emotions.”
If reading this gave you a major déjà vu of a person at your work place keep reading to understand how to identify a narcissist and how to win them right.
The best and easy way to identify a narcissist is to understand the seven exhaustive characteristic list provided by one of the great psychologists James F.  Masterson ;

  • Shamelessness: Narcissists cannot take the emotion shame in their stride and function accordingly. Instead they disguise their shame in the veil called grandiosity. Mantra: “Praise in public, Criticize in private” Once you realize this trait in a co-worker make sure you do not point their mistakes in front of the team though it is needed because once their veil is lifted, madness like rage takes over. This will for sure be directed at you.
  • Magical thinking:  Narcissists take risks that no one would ever think of even in their wildest dreams. They take risks without calculating the consequences. If they succeed they attribute it to their capabilities but if they fail it is either a lesson learnt or someone else’s fault. Mantra: “Do not take the narcissist’s word, involve everyone” If the lead or co-worker in your team is promising unachievable timelines make sure that your concerns are voiced via an official mail with all the team members included and the manager in cc.
  • Arrogance: Arrogance is the perfume that a narcissist wears. The fragrance is strong that it will suffocate you. A Narcissist will safeguard his fragile ego at any cost usually at the cost of other’s reputation. Mantra: “Make sure that the narcissist knows that you are not someone who takes a beating” Do not entertain any of their ego boosting activities like laughing at their jokes which are at someone’s expense. If not rudely but firmly voice your opinion even if it is not in line with their opinion.
  • Envy: Narcissists have a superior picture of their abilities. So when they are with people who are better than them, they belittle them in order to make themselves feel and project as superiors. Mantra: “Maintain a low profile. Hit it when the time is right.” It is always an advantage to maintain a low profile because this will give you an edge over others as they cannot analyze you or predict you. When the time is right give your best ideas in the presence of a higher official rendering the narcissist speechless.
  • Entitlement: The sense of superiority in narcissists leads them into believing that they have to be treated specially and be readily agreed with. Lack of such treatment unleashes their wrath. Mantra: “Disagree without being disagreeable.” When you have to disagree with a narcissist it is never a pleasant experience so make sure that you put forward your disagreement without being too obvious. You can try with statements starting like “maybe we can also use this other idea!” or “How about checking with so and so person before we act.”
  • Exploitation: The only thing that means the world to a narcissist is his own self. Understanding other’s emotions or being empathetic is not their forte. All this makes it easier for them to exploit others and usually their targets being their subordinates. Mantra: “You are stronger than you think.” The narcissistic exploitation is possible partially because of the receiver thinking that he has no way out which is not true in most of the cases. In today’s world every company has a strong HR team make sure that you bring the atrocities to their notice.This often solves most of the problems.
  • Bad Boundaries: Narcissists cannot process others as individuals with their own purpose. A narcissist can only treat one as an individual only when their self-esteem is fed and supported. Which he believes is the sole purpose of that individual. Mantra: “Do not feed the narcissist with narcissistic supply, Do not become the fodder.” Make sure that you do not overtly praise your co-worker or a superior who is a narcissist just to be in their good books because you will only be getting yourself into a deeper hole as you will always be expected to do so and disagreeing when needed will become impossible.

Narcissists are everywhere.
You can neither deny it nor change them.
You will just have to learn to deal with them. 

Krishna Gangadhar

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