How To Survive A Narcissistic Manager

They are out there and you will inevitably come into contact with at least one in your career. The starting point is to recognise them as they will show some, if not all, of the following.

The Narcissistic Manager;

  • has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • believes that he or she is ‘special’ and unique
  • requires excessive admiration
  • has a sense of entitlement
  • is interpersonally exploitative
  • lacks empathy
  • is often compensating for low self-esteem
  • shows arrogant, haughty behaviours and attitudes

So, if you are unfortunate enough to be under the yoke of such a dreadful individual, how do you go about managing the situation and preserving your own respect and dignity?

  • Manage your emotions – The NB is an expert at both praise and criticism and will attempt to manipulate you by getting you into a highly negative or highly positive emotional state.  Never believe the bad things that they say about you – but never believe the good stuff either. It’s all hot air and done for effect.
  • Increase their sense of security – Because the NB is frequently an insecure person, you need to neutralize real and apparent threats.  They will overreact to every problem, no matter how big or small.  Don’t tell them “That’s not a problem”; say “I will handle that.  Don’t worry about it.  I’ve got it under control.”  Never try to minimize the issues they raise, even if they are ridiculous.  Just assure them you can fix it.
  • Set personal boundaries – The NB will try to contact you at all hours because they have a problem that needs to be addressed NOW!  Don’t let them do this.  Turn off your phone.  Let messages go to voice mail.  Respond to email and text in the morning.  Let them know that you will devote most of your time to handling their issues, but you also have a personal life.
  • Don’t be misled – The NB is an expert manipulator.  If they suddenly act like your best friend, you can be sure that they want something.  Be suspicious. Always be suspicious.
  • Frame advice and suggestion in terms of their needs –The NB doesn’t care if you are overworked.  If this becomes a problem respond with details of how their demands will affect what you are trying to do for them, not how it affects you. Play them at their own game!
  • When you’ve had enough – find another job.  Really.  You won’t change their behaviour, so put up with as much as you can, but not a bit more.  Working for these people can be rewarding, since they are the seat of power and you will make great connections, but don’t sacrifice your personal goals and integrity to make them happy.

Good Luck!

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