How to Deal with a Narcissist in the Workplace

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

As a professional, it can be difficult to know how to deal with a narcissist in the workplace. Narcissism is a type of personality disorder that involves self-obsession and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. It is often associated with entitlement, manipulative behaviour, and an inability to accept criticism. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to effectively manage and interact with narcissistic colleagues.

The first step when dealing with a narcissist in the workplace is to understand their behaviour. Narcissists tend to use manipulation and intimidation tactics in order to get what they want from others. They typically have difficulty accepting criticism or feedback and may become defensive or aggressive when challenged. It’s important to recognise these behaviours so that you can respond appropriately and protect yourself from potential conflict or harm.

Another important aspect of dealing with a narcissistic colleague is setting clear boundaries between your work relationship and personal life. This means not engaging in any kind of gossip or negative conversations about them outside of work as this could potentially damage your professional reputation if word gets back to them. Additionally, it’s important not to take their behaviour personally as this will only feed into their need for attention and validation.

When communicating with them directly, it’s important to remain calm and composed, no matter how frustrated you may feel at times. Maintain eye contact while speaking firmly but politely – this will show that you are confident in your words while also demonstrating respect for the other person’s opinion. If they make unrealistic requests or exhibit overly demanding behaviours, try reframing the conversation by asking questions such as: “What evidence do you have that suggests this approach would be successful?” This technique challenges the narcissist’s ideas without attacking them personally which could lead to further conflict or disruption within the workplace environment. Face into the problem. Don’t attack the person.

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In some cases it might be necessary for managers or HR representatives intervene on behalf of employees who feel victimised by narcissistic colleagues. To ensure fairness on both sides, it’s important for employers gather evidence such as emails or written statements before taking any disciplinary action against the narcissist employee (as long as these are available). Employers should also remember never jump straight into conclusions without having all relevant facts at hand – many misunderstandings can arise due misinterpreted communications between colleagues which often require more open dialogue rather than punitive measures being taken immediately.

If dealing with a narcissist becomes too overwhelming there are certain strategies individuals can employ in order preserve their mental health during this time. Taking regular breaks throughout the day away from the office environment helps reduce stress levels while also giving individuals time reflect on recent events without feeling overwhelmed by them (in most cases). Additionally practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness activities helps focus one’s energy on positive thoughts rather than dwelling on negative interactions within the workplace environment. Keeping an open dialogues friends/loved ones about current situations at work also helps process emotions in healthy ways without getting drawn into unhealthy gossip cycles which often occur when dealing with difficult people. All these steps help create distance from toxic dynamics so individuals can maintain clarity around challenging situations thus allowing them find solutions more easily instead feeling overwhelmed by them.

In conclusion, understanding how best interact with a narcissistic colleague requires patience practice but following steps outlined above should help protect both parties involved whilst ensuring professionalism remains intact throughout interactions. The key takeaway here is don’t let emotions cloud judgement remain focused on gathering evidence facts before jumping straight into conclusions when challenging someone else’s opinions. The bonus takeaway, as I sign off, is to remind you that, sometimes, some people are just assholes (and don’t warrant your attention.)

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