Working alongside a narcissist can be annoying at the very least, and at worst can actually impede a company’s progress. The trick to dealing with an egocentric individual is to identify them for what they are, and not allow their behavior to affect you. It’s definitely easier said than done. However, if you allow them to get under your skin, not only will your work suffer, but other aspects of your life will as well.
Narcissists exhibit the following traits. If you notice any of your coworkers acting in any these ways, stay away from them as best you can.
Narcissists are good at putting on a decent show for the public. They come off as friendly, gentle, and charismatic. However, this behavior is only a front. You’ll see their true personality come out during stressful situations when things aren’t going so smoothly. When someone else messes up, they’ll be the first to let them know. They also won’t accept any excuse. When a narcissist lets his true identity show, it will throw your entire perception of him for a loop. I’m not saying you should be wary of all polite and respectful individuals, but do be sure to notice how these people handle certain situations.
Narcissists will always talk up how good they are, and how much they’ve accomplished in life. They rarely give credit to the people who have helped them along the way. They act as if everything that’s come to them in life was through their efforts and abilities alone. Though it can be nauseating, the worst thing you can do is call a narcissist out when they’re going on and on about themselves. That’ll just make them go deeper into detail about how awesome they are.
Narcissists also seem to know all the most important people in the industry and community. Whenever they have a story about happy hour, they’ll be sure to tell you exactly who was there, especially if they know that you don’t know who that person is. Subconsciously, they want you to be intimidated by the fact that they know so many people. In actuality, they most likely just engaged in boring small talk with all the people they listed, and probably didn’t even enjoy themselves. However, they’ll pretend as if you missed out because you weren’t important enough to be there.
Narcissists think they’re above everyone else for no other reason than they are who they are. If a promotion is coming up, they’ll convince everyone around them that they’ll be the one moving up, seeing as they’ve put so much effort into their work lately. Of course, they take no notice of all the hard work other people have done. They certainly don’t give credit where credit is due (except to themselves, naturally). The best way to deal with a narcissist with a sense of entitlement is to (hopefully) get that promotion yourself through your own hard work and dedication.
Of course, if you get the promotion, they’ll be the first to point out that it was probably because you invited the boss to your house for dinner that one time (even if they’d done it before as well). Narcissists will always have some sob story to rationalize their shortcomings, and will try to make you feel bad for them. They don’t take the time to realize that everyone
It should be obvious by now that narcissists think they can do no wrong. So when someone critiques their performance, they take it as an insult. They rarely use this constructive advice to better their performance. In their eyes, the other person simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so why should they change? Of course, they’ll be the first person to criticize someone else for a shoddy performance. They will do this out of spite. rather than to be constructive. Because their use of criticism is to put others down, that’s how they perceive it when others criticize them.
Along with playing the victim, narcissists always have an excuse when they screw up. If they made a typo on a report, it was probably because the keyboard got stuck or the spellcheck didn’t catch the mistake. If they don’t turn something in on time, it’s because they were swamped with all the other work they had to do. Let me emphasize this point again: when other people mess up, narcissists don’t accept any excuse at all. Only they live a hard life, after all.
Narcissists take everything someone says as a personal attack. When their boss gives them criticism that’s supposed to be constructive, narcissists will (of course) have some excuse. They will wonder why the boss didn’t yell at another colleague for doing the same thing (when in actuality they probably did — just in private). They’ll also think people are “out to get them,” and have some personal vendetta against them. They don’t realize that their boss is criticizing their performance at their job,
Narcissists don’t usually last too long at jobs. Since they feel entitled, and at the same time feel like everyone’s out to get them, they’ll cut and run from a job the minute they don’t see any chance of advancement, or when they get the feeling their boss hates them. Before they get to that point; however, they’ll usually stop performing well at their job, and let everyone else around them pick up the slack. When they leave, they also leave behind a ton of projects half-finished. This sets the company back even farther. And of course, since they’re gone, they won’t even worry about it.
Narcissists don’t even know how full of themselves they are. They think everyone operates the same way, which is why they feel so personally attacked all the time. Since they fail to acknowledge their own shortcomings and weaknesses, they will never change. In their eyes, they’re perfect, and everyone else around them are the ones who need to be fixed.
Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm5.staticflickr.com
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