Most people who are ambitious or goal orientated probably have a touch of narcissism, but it is the degree of narcissism that you need to be aware of before you recruit or promote someone. They can and will cause mayhem. Their way will be the only way; they will do whatever it takes to get their way even if their ‘way’ is immoral or even marginally illegal. They think that bullying people is a talent.
So here are MY 12 signs – I’m sure there are more but you will get the gist:
- They totally believe they have a natural talent for influencing people
- They do not understand the concept of modesty
- They will do anything to ‘win’
- They can talk their way into or out of any situation
- They can read others and work out how to control them
- They will never be satisfied no matter how much they have or how high they go
- They have to be the centre of attention
- They believe they are more capable than anyone else even though they have no particular skills to do the job they are applying for
- They happily pinch other people’s ideas and take the credit for them
- If things go wrong, they will find someone to blame
- They expect people to believe what they say
- They do not like being questioned or challenged
If these 12 traits have just sent waves of terror through your body, then I feel for you. These people are very hard to get rid of; they seem to always be one step ahead of you and they have an answer for everything. As if that wasn’t enough, they have the hides of a rhinoceros and the survival skills of a cockroach.
If you fear you have just promoted a narcissist, then watch for that power going to their head. Keep an eye on turnover; absenteeism and a rise in sick leave being taken. The last thing you want is to lose your good people because you have promoted someone like this. You can always coach and mentor them; put in place strict guidelines beyond which they must not go; you could even demote them; not a great look but better than losing employees, customers and suppliers.
Psychology Today suggests three ways to deal with them:
- Maintain a positive outlook. If you are dealing with narcissists who derive pleasure from watching others suffer, then seeing the pain they cause will only egg them on to more aggressive counter-behaviour. Don’t look ruffled, even if you’re feeling annoyed, and eventually that behaviour will diminish in frequency.
- Don’t let yourself get derailed. It’s easy to lose your own sense of purpose or goals when a narcissist tries to take centre stage. You don’t need to attend to everything this person says or does, no matter how much he or she clamours for your attention. Find the balance between moving ahead in the direction you want to pursue and alleviating the vulnerable narcissist’s anxieties and insecurities
- Keep your sense of humour. Calling a narcissist’s bluff may mean that you ignore the person, but it might also mean that you meet that bluff with a laugh at least once in a while. Without being cruel about it, you can point to the inappropriateness of the person’s egocentric behaviour with a smile or joke.
The good news is, that they don’t stay very long in any one place. They get bored very easily and if they are not getting the love and adoration they crave in your business, they will find it somewhere else. Wish them a relieved Bon Voyage and then learn the signs for next time.
“When people show you who they are, believe them.’ Bianca Fraser
Ann Andrews CSP
Article: 8 Ways to Handle a Narcissist