how to deal with a narcissistic personality at work.


The narcissistic personality is present everywhere, but how do we identify it in the workplace? What are the characteristics of the narcissistic personality and its behavior with co-workers or subordinates? And how do we deal with the narcissistic person at work, whether a colleague or a manager, in order to survive with the least losses in the workplace? We will try to answer these questions in this article.

Narcissistic personality traits at work

In various work environments, you may encounter many people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors, but today we will highlight the characteristics of a narcissistic personality so that you can get to know these people. These characteristics include:

1. Arrogance and exaggerated self-esteem

The narcissist believes that he is talented, distinguished, and exceptional. This great arrogance and inflated ego of the narcissistic person makes him exaggerate his self-esteem. This will be evident in the workplace more than anywhere else, as there are abundant opportunities for self-affirmation.

2. Exaggerated self-talk

Exaggeration of a person’s abilities and accomplishments, constant talk, and fantasies of unlimited success, power, intelligence, etc. are all signs that your co-worker is a narcissist.

3. A constant need for attention, praise, and validation

Praise and validation are the fuel that the narcissist runs on. You will notice that your narcissistic colleague gets annoyed if someone is praised more or is sometimes ignored.

4. He expects special treatment

The narcissistic personality’s strong sense of entitlement and superiority makes him expect special treatment from those around him. He feels that they are negligent and do not value him properly if he does not receive this special treatment.

5. He is often an opportunist

Those who have narcissistic personalities are more likely to exploit others for their own gain. This creates a risk at work since he will do whatever it takes to garner all the recognition and awards he can, even at the expense of his employees.

6. Inability to empathize with the feelings of others

You may notice that your colleague or manager has a complete lack of empathy. He does not feel any kind of pity or sympathy towards others and may even gloat at them. Empathy for the narcissistic personality is a form of weakness.

In conclusion, dealing with a narcissistic person at work can be challenging. However, recognizing the characteristics of a narcissistic personality and implementing effective communication strategies can help you manage this personality type in the workplace.

Narcissistic Behavior at Work.

Surely, you know one or more narcissistic people in your workplace. Here are more characteristics that help you discover the narcissistic personality through its behavior in the workplace:

•  He attributes the credit for your work to himself and does not hesitate to steal your effort and work.

•  He taunts you in front of your co-workers, participates in or organizes bullying campaigns, and has no sympathy for victims of bullying at work.

•  He blames you even for his mistakes and always tries to disavow any responsibility.

• He takes advantage of your weaknesses and tries to prevent you from using your strengths.

• He tries to hurt you or get you fired.

• He lies until he submits the work and does not feel guilty about lying, cheating, and deceit, but considers it savvy!

• He spreads lies about you and denies it when you confront him.

• He sabotages your business and may intentionally hide from you information necessary to fail.

• He may pressure you to do something immoral.

• He gets jealous of your accomplishments instead of congratulating you.

Characteristics of a narcissistic manager

Here are seven traits of narcissistic managers that characterize a narcissistic personality when they have power:

• They don’t respect boundaries: A narcissistic boss doesn’t respect employees’ personal space, time, and possessions. For example, they’ll schedule overtime without pay, expect your car to be used for business purposes, and call after hours with the expectation that you’ll answer.

• Divide and rule: Many leaders thrive on creating problems and creating gaps between people so that workers start plotting against each other in the hope of getting a permanent position.

• Mood swings: Narcissistic managers often suffer from frequent mood swings, and this makes employees tense as they cannot predict the mood and reaction of the narcissistic manager.

• They say and do not implement: In fact, the only thing that makes employees tolerate annoying and toxic behavior may be the hope for an increase, reward, or promotion. Here, your narcissistic manager will begin to spread hope in your heart and make promises in front of you so that you continue to sacrifice and hope that it is worth it and may give you small privileges that give you the illusion that you will receive your reward soon, and this does not happen at all.

• They take credit for others’ work and attribute it to themselves: Narcissistic bosses often take credit for your hard work themselves, and if they don’t do so clearly, they attribute it to their own discerning and skilled leadership.

• They don’t take blame: They don’t take responsibility for anything wrong, even if a project fails as a result of their decisions, so they find a way to blame you and the rest of the team.

• They are characterized by forgetfulness or denying actions: The narcissistic boss denies facts, conversations, and even their actions, and accordingly, after a while, you may find yourself questioning your abilities and memories. You may start to think you’re incompetent and distracted.

How to deal with a narcissistic personality at work

Now that you know the traits of a narcissistic personality, here are some tips on how to deal with one:

Deal with it with documentation and everything in writing:

To safeguard yourself at work, consider requesting email confirmation of any verbal instructions given to you. This provides a reliable record of what the narcissist communicated and when.

Avoid fighting with them:

A narcissist is always looking for ways to annoy you, whether it’s to break your status or kick you out. Avoid giving them this opportunity.

Know that it is not a personal problem:

Unfortunately, you may be the primary focus of the narcissist’s attention. A narcissist usually ignores people who perform better than them at work or have a good group of friends in the workplace because the narcissist dislikes anyone who is seen as “better.” Keep in mind that the narcissist’s behavior towards you has nothing to do with you; it’s all about them and their insecurities. Realizing that the narcissist’s behavior is not a personal attack can make it easier for you to walk away.

Don’t give personal information or opinions to narcissists:

The narcissist commonly employs the tactic of asking “What do you think of a co-worker?” as a manipulative ploy.” Watch out for this trap. If you give no answer, the narcissist will twist what you said and tell your coworker. Even if you say, “I think Sally is great,” the narcissist may tell Sally you think she needs a lot of improvement, as the narcissist is an emotional vampire.

Always find a witness:

If your narcissistic co-worker says they need to talk to you privately, consider bringing someone with you as a witness. This means that if the narcissist tells your boss a lie about you, you have someone who witnessed the events and can support you.

Avoiding communication:

This is an effective step, but it can be one of the hardest steps to take. One of the best ways to not get sucked into the narcissist’s games is to refuse to engage with them.

-Know your legal rights:

 It is important to know your legal rights in the workplace, especially if the narcissist is your boss.

Weaknesses of the narcissistic person in the workplace

In fact, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition and is classified as a disease, despite displaying a strong personality and traits such as high self-esteem and lack of empathy for others. But you will find in the depths of their being that they actually have a weak self-image that makes them vulnerable, and we will tell you about seven weaknesses of the narcissist:

Breaking the energy or aura that the narcissist surrounds themselves with:

When this source of energy is damaged, the narcissist loses their outer shell that they portray to the world.

Commitment relationship:

Narcissists have great difficulty finding and maintaining a relationship such as a deep friendship, love, or marriage, and this would only reveal an unimaginable and terrifying sign of vulnerability for the narcissist.


The narcissist’s great weakness is the failure to look within themselves and materialize what points need to be developed and worked on because this means the narcissist will fall to the same level as everyone else.

Exposure to insult:

This mental illness makes them more sensitive to frustration and ridicule, and insulting a narcissist may be a real risk that leads them to undesirable actions and behavior.

Not being the best:

The biggest fear for narcissists is that they are not seen as important and believe that their weaknesses will come out unless everyone likes them.

They are not good at gratitude:

There is this idea in the narcissist’s world that gratitude is a sign of weakness, that they are fully deserving of all they have without thanks, gratitude, or appreciation.

The Impact of Narcissistic Individuals on Work and Productivity

It is crucial for the human resources department to improve its employee selection process. According to research conducted at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, a narcissistic person leading a team can negatively affect work performance.

Maryland Smith Professor of Management and co-author of the study published in the Journal of Management Studies, Hui Liao, explains, “Narcissistic leaders are sometimes nasty, arrogant, self-centered, and difficult to deal with.”

Liao adds that narcissistic leaders are not good at delegating power to their team members, and organizations need to figure out why this can be harmful to their teams.

Narcissistic leaders are detrimental to businesses that aim to promote work environments where employees share power, participate in decision-making, take ownership of projects, and allow their creativity to flourish.

Liao also highlights that, “If you expect employees to use their brains and take the initiative to figure out the best solutions, you need to empower them… In situations like this, if narcissistic leaders refuse to delegate authority to employees, employee performance and team performance will suffer.”

However, this does not mean that organizations should not hire narcissistic individuals. Instead, they should consider them as staff members and not as managers or leaders. Although there are highly successful leaders classified as narcissists, such as Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, Liao suggests that their success comes from compensating for their narcissistic traits with other characteristics.

Liao emphasizes that in a work environment where initiative and team initiative are necessary, it is crucial to follow the approach of empowering leaders, which includes trusting your team members, giving them opportunities to participate and make decisions, and coaching them.

As for narcissistic employees, Liao recommends reminding them of the benefits of being comfortable with power, but also warning them about the negative consequences of narcissism. It is crucial to pay attention to the details that show the characteristics of narcissistic personality at work and deal with them carefully.

Overall, organizations need to be mindful of the impact of narcissistic individuals on work and productivity, and work towards creating a positive work environment that promotes team collaboration, individual empowerment, and effective leadership.