Jul 26, 2012
I stumbled across an article today that examined how to deal with a narcissist at work. And interestingly enough technical fields, including Accounting, Finance and IT are fields that have high levels of narcissism. Just in case you’re wondering, here’s the definition Computer World gave for narcissism:
Narcissism…is a pattern of behaviors that show a pervasive need for attention and admiration, as well as a lack of concern or empathy for others. Narcissists often display some of the following traits:
- Arrogant and self centered, they expect special treatment
- Openly charismatic, often articulate and funny, which can be deceiving
- Likely to disrespect the boundaries and privacy of others
- Patronizing and critical of others, but unwilling to accept criticism or disagreement
- Anxiety-stricken or paranoid and get angry when they can’t control a situation
The thing is that within the workplace, narcissists tend to be successful and goal-oriented. So if YOU’RE the narcissist, you may not even know it…but everyone else does!
Narcissists feel a need to control their co-workers, projects and situations around them and without even knowing it, their actions can be manipulative, often spinning facts to make them appear that others around them are the problem, not them all the while over-inflating their success and accomplishments.
IT has its fair share of narcissism because of the high level of accomplishment that the trade requires. In addition, just like sales (which many narcissists also exist) it’s highly competitive. Success is based on relationship building and nurturing and many IT folk find it a cut throat world now. Dog-eat-dog, if you must. Eat or be eaten…Enough analogies for you?
Look, I get it, if you’re a sought after, highly successful, well-accredited subject matter expert, you’re entitled to a certain amount of respect within the workplace. That doesn’t however make you any better than the people who work around you and it’s sometimes a great idea to check into the humble hotel and look at how the people surrounding you and supporting you actually contribute to your daily success. More than likely, you’re not doing it alone.
So How Do You Deal With The Work Narcissist?
If a work bully is affecting you, the best coping mechanism is to try to understand where the arrogance stems from. Most times, arrogance and narcissism are defense mechanisms used subconsciously to prevent further criticism. It can also be a result of feeling neglected.
Dealing with narcissism doesn’t have to prove difficult. Just don’t treat the person any differently than you would anyone else. Interact with him or her as you would any of your other co-workers and ensure that your reaction to his or her behavior is the same that you would have with anyone else. While his or her narcissistic behavior may be infuriating to you, trust that everyone around you sees it as well and use yourself to set an example about how to deal with this arrogant personality.
Never try to One-Up the person and make sure you wear your modest hat whenever applicable. That being said, there’s no need for you to feel bullied or pressured and if you feel that this narcissistic personality is a hazard to your success or the overall success of a department or company, stand up for yourself and speak with the proper people within your organization.
Good luck and stand your ground!