- A narcissist at work may make your day-to-day difficult.
- It’s not much better if that narcissist is your boss.
- There are many narcissists in power because of traits they’re able to leverage, such as risk-taking and being charming.
Research suggests that you’re more likely to find a narcissist in the corner office than just about anywhere else.
As psychoanalyst leadership expert Michael Maccoby has argued, that’s because narcissists often thrive in leadership roles, since so-called “productive narcissists” are super comfortable with risk and charming enough to get people’s backing for their ideas.
“Narcissists have always emerged to inspire people and to shape the future,” Maccoby wrote for Harvard Business Review. “Consider how an executive at Oracle describes his narcissistic CEO Larry Ellison: ‘The difference between God and Larry is that God does not believe he is Larry.'”
But the problem, of course, is that narcissists are typically looking out for themselves, ready to cut down anybody who challenges them, and like to take credit for other people’s work.
Here are eleven signs you may be working for a narcissist.
Drake Baer and Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
They like to put people down
Narcissistic people intentionally put down others in order to maintain a high positive image of themselves.
“Seeking admiration is like a drug for narcissists,” Mitja D. Back, a psychologist at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, told Psychology Today. “In the long run it becomes difficult because others won’t applaud them, so they always have to search for new acquaintances from whom they get the next fix.”
Needless to say, serious control issues and the need to build themselves up at the expense of others may not make for the ideal manager.
Even though they’re often negative about everyone around them, they reject critiques of themselves
Any inkling that they’re less than perfect will drive them over the edge.
They really, really love being in control
Narcissists typically enjoy leadership positions since they are able to dominate others and fulfil their need for constant positive reinforcement.
They thrive in “leadership situations where they can dazzle and dominate others without having to cooperate or suffer the consequences of a bad reputation,” psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman wrote on Psychology Today.
They are young and male
After 34,653 face-to-face interviews, psychologist Frederick Stinson found that men tend to be more narcissistic than women across their lifespans.
In addition, narcissism is believed to peak during adolescence and decline with age.
They swear pretty frequently
Psychologists Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube from Washington University in St. Louis found in a study that more narcissistic subjects are more argumentative and curse more than their non-narcissistic counterparts.
They also tend to use more sexually explicit language.
Even though they’re in charge, they might not be very effective
However, while there are more narcissists in power, a study from the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign suggests that narcissists are no more effective leaders than non-narcissists.
They hate emotions
The “very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure,” Harvard Medical School psychologist Craig Malkin wrote at the Huffington Post.
That’s why narcissists abhor them.
Feeling an emotion “challenges their sense of perfect autonomy,” he wrote. “To admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them.”
As a result, narcissists tend to change the topic of conversation when feelings come up – especially their own.
Instead of listening, they just wait to speak
Anita Vangelisti, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin, said that narcissists typically prefer to keep the conversation centered around themselves by “making exaggerated hand movements, talking loudly, and showing disinterest by ‘glazing over’ when others speak.”
They dress better than everybody else
Narcissists are generally rated as more stylish and physically attractive, according to a study conducted by Simine Vazire, a psychologist at Washington University.
They’re more likely to look neat, organised, and don expensive clothes. Narcissistic women are more likely to show cleavage and wear makeup, the study suggests.
They love you in one moment, and hate you in the next
Narcissists see the world in black and white, according to Dr.Neil J. Lavender, author of “Toxic Coworkers: How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job.”
“They will love you at first but if you disappoint them they will hate you,” Lavender previously told Business Insider. “There is no middle-of-the-road.”
They refuse to talk about anything other than themselves
If your coworker is constantly gearing the conversation back to themselves, they might be a narcissist.
“They always want to be surrounded by their ‘fans’ and love ‘holding court,’ telling stories while others listen in a state of rapture,” Lavender said. “Often these stories center around what they considered to be their ‘amazing’ accomplishments, usually overexaggerating their achievements.”
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