Narcissism, by definition, is an excessive interest in one’s self and one’s physical appearance. It is a personality disorder that tends to manifest as an inflated sense of superiority and entitlement. A person who displays narcissistic qualities may be difficult to work with and can cause serious stress in the workplace. It can be hard to identify a narcissistic boss, since narcissists often use subtle tactics to manipulate or otherwise control employees. Here are 12 signs that you may be working for a narcissist:
1. Your Boss Needs Constant Attention – Narcissists need continuous attention and admiration from their employees, so watch out for a boss who expects or demands your undivided regard all the time. They will likely expect preferential treatment and think they are better than everyone else in the office.
2. He or She Lacks Empathy – Narcissists have difficulty understanding how other people feel, so your boss may not show empathy towards you or any of your colleagues when something goes wrong or when someone is feeling down. Even if they do seem compassionate at times, chances are it’s just an act rather than a genuine emotion.
3. There Is Constant Manipulative Behavior – Narcissistic bosses are known to use manipulation tactics in order to get what they want from their employees and others. This could mean setting unrealistic deadlines that are impossible to satisfy without working extra hours – and expecting you to do so.
4. Unwillingness To Take Responsibility For Their Actions – Since narcissists only care about themselves, they rarely take responsibility for any mistakes they or their team members make. They readily blame others instead of looking in the mirror and accepting that it may just have been their error in judgment that caused a failed outcome.
5. Difficulty Delegating Tasks – Since narcissists believe they are superior to everyone else, they may have difficulty delegating tasks, as they feel like no one else will do them properly or up to their standards. Don’t expect a narcissistic boss to give you responsibility or authority over tasks; instead, expect micromanagement all the way.
6. They Are Jealous Of Other Employees’ Achievements – Narcissists hate seeing anyone other than themselves achieve success, as this threatens their fragile egos. They may actively undermine other employees’ achievements via petty comments or unfair criticism. Look out for this behavior if you think your boss has narcissistic qualities.
7 . They Have Grandiose, Unattainable Ideas And Goals – While a certain degree of ambition in one’s goals is necessary fuel for motivation, pay attention if your boss’s plans seem wildly unrealistic and their attitude grandiose. Narcissists tend to over-inflate their own abilities while underestimating those of others – a classic example being promises of promotions that never actually materialize.
8 . They Always Seek Praise And Validation From Others – Narcissists need validation from others in order to feel good about themselves. Watch out for bosses who constantly seek compliments from subordinates or peers – especially those who focus on superficial aspects such as looks rather than skills or job performance.
9 . They Quickly Grow Apoplectic When Criticised – As narcissistic bosses value themselves above everyone else, any form of criticism can bring on their rage. When someone points out their error or suggests an alternative approach, look for signs of acute irritation in your boss, as they could indicate underlying mental issues, specifically narcissism.
10 . They Refuse To Acknowledge The Good Work Of Others – As narcissists only have eyes for themselves and their own achievements, they may refuse to acknowledge the good work done by other team members, even if it has contributed significantly to communal success. This can demotivate staff and create tension between co-workers on account of perceived unfair treatment.
11 . They Use Fear To Get What They Want From Employees – Watch out for signs of intimidation from your boss (such as shouting) whenever he or she doesn’t get what they want from you. This can be indicative of narcissism, as these individuals often try using fear tactics in order to gain control over those around them.
12 . They Don’t Respect Boundaries – Last, but certainly not least, keep an eye on how much information your boss shares with colleagues about his or her personal life. If it feels like too much, it probably is, as narcissistic bosses tend to not respect boundaries between workplace dynamics and interpersonal relationships with those around them, thus creating unhealthy situations, where inappropriate topics are discussed openly.
By being aware of these signs, you can determine whether your boss is exhibiting classic narcissistic tendencies, which can lead to stressful working conditions and potentially the need to leave your job. Addressed promptly, appropriately, and on your terms, a boss’s narcissistic behavior can be contained and neutralized.