Narcissism is not restricted only to those in positions of power—in the workplace, you may encounter narcissists in any occupation
Thousands of years after the first appearance of his story, Narcissus lives on, not only through the springtime flower that bears his name but also through a term all too familiar to many: narcissism.
According to legend, when the beautiful Greek hero Narcissus fell in love with his reflection, he realized he could never acquire what he truly desired. Though variations of the myth exist, most agree that his vanity plagued him until the day he died.
Narcissism is a personality trait and is also one of ten recognized personality disorders—and it’s more common than you think. It’s estimated that up to five percent of people have this trait.
An even greater percentage of high-powered individuals such as CEOs and world leaders are thought to be narcissists. Their overconfidence and ambition allow them to put themselves and their beliefs ahead of those around them.
But narcissism is not restricted only to those in positions of power. In the workplace, you may encounter narcissists in any occupation, and their effect on you and your coworkers can be detrimental to productivity, creating a positive work environment, and even safety. So it’s important to be able to recognize narcissistic behaviours and ways to both cope with and help a narcissist.
7 Tools and Traits of Narcissists
1. Use gaslighting to dominate others
2. Exaggerate their abilities and talents
3. Need constant attention
4. Monopolize conversations
5. Have a preoccupation with power, money, and
6. Envy others
7. Have difficulty handling criticism
3 Ways to Cope with a Narcissist
If you believe you are dealing with a narcissist in your workplace, here are three steps you can take to make the situation more bearable:
1. Recognize the person needs help and therefore may not be in complete control of their actions.
2. Respond with humour, which may paint their conduct in a more favourable light and make it more tolerable for you.
3. Stay positive—they may end up changing their tune or reducing the frequency they resort to such behaviour.
This disorder doesn’t just have adverse effects for those around the narcissist. Narcissists may suffer socially, as it is difficult for them to interact with others in a constructive manner. They can also become depressed, feel insecure, or experience excess stress. Narcissism can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, issues at work, relationship troubles, and suicidal thoughts.
Those who suffer from extreme narcissism can benefit from psychotherapy. But they may be reluctant or unable to recognize they have a problem.
If you suspect someone you know suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, gently point out that their behaviours may be harmful to themselves and others and encourage them to seek therapy to help them manage their disorder. Once in therapy, be compassionate, supportive, and patient. Treatment can take a number of years.
Sources: brittanica.com, mayoclinic.org, clevelandclinic.org, psychologytoday.com, gsb.stanford.edu, healthline.com