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10 Signs You’re Working With A Narcissist

10 Signs You’re Working With A Narcissist

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.

1. They appear likable at fist

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.

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2. They talk a big game

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.

3. They drop names

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.

4. They’re entitled

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.

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5. They play the victim

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 faces hardships, and nobody has an easy life. There’s nothing you can do for them here. Narcissists will always see themselves as a victim of their circumstances.

6. They hate criticism

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.

7. They always have an excuse

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.

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8. They take everything personally

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, which they get paid to do. It has nothing to do with how the boss feels about them personally, but the narcissist will always take it that way.

9. They leave a trail of destruction

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.

10. They don’t see themselves as narcissists

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.

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Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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