Narcissists are people with an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep-seated need to be admired and adored. You might be wondering what that looks like in a boss.
While narcissists are typically hiding a fragile ego, they are experts at concealing their weaknesses. They project a sense of extreme confidence even to the point of arrogance.
In the workplace, this kind of personality disorder can manifest as insensitivity or conceit at best and outright abuse at worst. Particularly when a narcissist is experiencing stress — something common in the workplace — their true colors will shine through any facade they’ve worked so hard to put in place. Read on to learn about five signs you’re dealing with a narcissistic boss.
How the Narcissistic Boss Acts
Your narcissistic boss will typically exhibit these behaviors frequently. It’s true that any boss could show some of these tendencies every now and again, but the narcissist commonly expresses these negative characteristics.
1. Disregard for Employees
Narcissistic bosses have little regard for the reasonable feelings and needs of their staff. If you’re not among the favorite few of your boss, he or she will likely be indifferent to you as an individual.
If you feel as though you’re overworked, your boss will not care nor will he or she seek to help reduce your workload. You’re basically told to ‘deal with it.’ Narcissistic bosses are also notoriously miserly when it comes to compensation.
They will exploit you any time they can. That means that they have little regard for your rights and may do things like schedule overtime with no extra pay or expect that you will use your vehicle for work-related activities without proper compensation.
2. You’re an Extension
The narcissistic boss uses you as an extension of their selfish agenda. This includes expectations that go above and beyond your job description.
You might be expected, for example, to run personal errands, work on their pet projects, or even assume part of your boss’s responsibilities. All of this will be done without any appropriate compensation or acknowledgment.
3. No Credit
Another typical trait of the narcissistic boss is that they are extremely stingy with regard to praising you for a job well done. To the narcissist, praising someone else detracts from the attention and admiration they crave.
If you do get some modicum of praise, your narcissistic boss will likely dish it out only in the context of their enlightened leadership. If they do praise you without doing that, that probably indicates they want something from you.
It doesn’t matter how hard you work, if they don’t need you, they will just use you, ignore you, or neglect you. What’s more, if your performance gets to the point that it threatens your narcissistic boss, they will actively seek to take you down a notch so that they can regain the spotlight.
The narcissistic boss is also not above stealing the credit for your hard work if it will put you, and not them, in the spotlight. They have an almost constant need to be admired and any threat to that will be treated harshly.
4. They Break Rules and Ethical Norms
The narcissist simply doesn’t believe the rules should apply to them. They see themselves as entitled to do whatever they see as the correct thing to do. They will take advantage of their employees and take shortcuts if they feel it will help them garner praise from their own bosses.
This can take the form of abusing their business expense account, utilizing unethical marketing schemes, falsifying reports, and even committing white collar crimes. They truly believe they are above the law and that the rules are for other people.
If they are caught doing some of these things, they won’t hesitate to blame someone else for their failings. Their fragile sense of self can’t stand the possibility of criticism, and they will do whatever they feel it takes to keep that from happening.
5. They Do Go On!
Because narcissists love to be the center of attention, your boss will take any excuse to dominate the spotlight. That includes taking over meetings, dramatic exhibitions at presentations, and talking over everyone else on phone conversations.
They usually take these opportunities to remind everyone what they have accomplished and how special their ideas and proposals are. They can also be disruptive in these contexts and use them to put down their coworkers or anyone who they see as competition.
Their goal is to make themselves appear to be as powerful and influential as possible. They want everyone to see just how important they are. They will often go on and on about how much of a valuable player they are in the company.
They will also use these opportunities to reinforce their status or rank within the company. They simply cannot relate to other people as equals, and so, they will use these opportunities to reinforce their superiority over underlings and suck up to their superiors. They will use various manipulative techniques to get what they want from everyone around them.
If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself working for a narcissist, you will have to work extra hard to maintain your cool and nourish a healthy self-esteem. There are a number of strategies you can use to defend yourself from a narcissist and still make headway in your company.
It will also be vital for you to set healthy boundaries so that you don’t permit the kind of abuse common with a narcissist. You do have rights as an employee, and of course, if the abuse is creating an intolerable workplace environment, you might need to file a complaint with your human resources department.
Barring that, however, there are some effective strategies for working with a narcissistic boss, but you’ll also want to consider when it might be appropriate to leave as well.
If you have a narcissistic boss, it’s also helpful to know how to say no to him or her. To help with that, I’d like to send you a free copy of “5 Must-Know Techniques to Effectively Reject a Narcissist.” Just click on the link below this post and I’ll send it directly to your inbox.
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