The Narcissist can often be found employed in a senior role – I was somewhat surprised to learn this as I figured authoritarian leadership had had its day. It’s difficult to say if this personality attribute has specifically helped them along the way to the top. We all possess some narcissism, indeed we all need an element of it in terms of being able to use and display a degree of agency in the world.
“It’s not easy being superior to everyone I know” – anon
What is a Narcissist?
An individual characterised by craving to be the centre of attention constantly, a very extreme form of self-centredness, having grandiose fantasies of one’s achievements and talents and consequently lacking care and concern for others. Like confidence or self esteem, we all need a dash of it, so we’re all somewhere on the spectrum. But a considerable excess results in behavioural challenges for everyone which is even more acute when the narcissist in question is your boss..!
You might be able to walk away from this person in your social life, but if the world of work has thrust this dynamic upon you and especially if you have a nightmare boss, then you’re going to have to find a way to cope. How?
How To Deal With a Narcissist Boss
1. Remember you’re not going to be best friends, (although narcissists can be very charming to get what they want) and that the narcissist’s behaviour affects everyone in their orbit – as a consequence nothing they do should not be taken personally
2. Avoid blaming the narcissist too directly for anything. If a workplace issue arises, use a simple open question to frame the problem eg. “So why didn’t we win the pitch?” “What was the main reason?” etc.
Try this quick personality test to see how you score on the narcissist spectrum http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm
Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.
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