Narcissists excel at creating a hostile environment in the workplace. They often go to extreme lengths to make their colleagues feel inferior. They take credit for work that isn’t theirs and expect unreasonable favors from their colleagues. The result of their selfish and entitled behavior is a hostile and toxic work environment. In this post we will discuss 11 signs that indicate you are working with a narcissist.
The Impact of a Narcissist on the Workplace
If you think that you might be working with a narcissist, you should pay attention, because their toxicity could impact both your career and your mental health,
Their need for validation can lead to unjustified credit-taking, their refusal to accept feedback can impede progress, and their lack of respect for others can create communication issues and relationships strained by distrust.
So, it is definitely in your best interest to be aware of any potential signs of narcissistic behavior in the workplace, in order to protect yourself accordingly.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (1) They Talk About Themselves All The Time
A narcissist coworker can be incredibly draining and disruptive in the workplace. They talk about themselves all the time, often hogging conversations as they brag about their accomplishments and skills.
They will take any opportunity to show off and may even tell lies just to secure admiration from those around them. When interacting with a narcissist coworker it is important to remember that you don’t have to give into their demands for attention and admiration – no matter how loudly they insist on it.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (2) They’re not interested in the successes of others
A narcissist coworker is rarely interested in the successes of others. Even if they appear to be listening, they will swiftly move on to talking about their own achievements or leisure activities as soon as you begin sharing yours. It’s often difficult to get a narcissistic person to listen for more than a few minutes before it becomes all about them again.
Moreover, a narcissist will generally be dismissive of your concerns and accomplishments, focusing only on those that are relevant to themselves. They will often use this opportunity to belittle and diminish the importance of your successes, in an effort to make themselves appear superior.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (3) They have difficulty empathizing with others
A narcissist coworker can be difficult to work with because they often struggle to empathize with others. Narcissists are notoriously oblivious to the feelings and needs of those around them, and as such they will make decisions or take action without taking into consideration how this will affect their colleagues. This lack of empathy makes it incredibly frustrating for those who work with a narcissistic coworker on a regular basis.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (4) They take more than they give
A narcissist will expect more from people than they are willing to give in return. Narcissists expect people to do things for them – even if it is not in that person’s best interests or if it goes against the wishes of everyone else involved.
At the same time, they rarely show appreciation for the work and sacrifices of those around them. This can leave coworkers feeling drained and unappreciated, making it a difficult environment to work in.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (5) They lack accountability
A narcissistic coworker can be particularly difficult to work with because of their lack of accountability. Instead, they will deflect the criticism to others and make excuses for their behavior rather than taking any responsibility for it.
Whenever faced with criticism or mistakes, they will refuse to accept their fair share of the blame, and are likely to react very defensively or even aggressively. This makes it very difficult to have constructive conversations around mistakes or areas where improvement is needed.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (6) Their needs come first
A narcissist’s needs will always come before anyone else’s. From small decisions, such as deciding on the restaurant for a business lunch, to bigger decisions such as which client to bid for – without fail the narcissist’s opinion is always the one that matters most. They genuinely believe that their view or opinion is the only one that should be taken into consideration.
This can be especially frustrating in a collaborative work environment as it leaves little room for others’ perspectives and contributions. Often times this behavior inevitably leads to resentment and diminishes morale within the team.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (7) They have an inflated view of their self-importance
Narcissists often think that their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs are more important than those of anyone else around them. This can lead to difficulties when collaborating with others or working in a team environment, as the narcissist will ride roughshod over any views or ideas that do not align with their own.
In addition, they also may be highly domineering, trying to take control in any situation and pushing their own agenda regardless of the input from others. This behavior can become tiring fast and can quickly cause tension among coworkers.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (8) Everything is a competition
To a narcissist, life is one big competition and they must win it all no matter what it takes or who they hurt along the way. They have an intense need to always be right and to make sure that their viewpoint is seen as the only valid one. This can lead to manipulative behaviors in order to gain the upper hand in any discussion or situation.
In addition, this competitive attitude may also lead to them stabbing their coworkers in the back, particularly if someone stands in the way of them achieving their goals.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (9) No one admires them as much as they admire themselves
A narcissistic coworker has an insatiable need for admiration, and they may go out of their way to get it, no matter what it takes. The truth is, however, that this need for admiration is never satisfied. However much praise they receive, the narcissist will always be searching for more.
They are usually unable to recognize that no one can admire them as much as they do themselves and this can lead to frustration and disappointment.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (10) They seek constant validation
A narcissistic coworker will often seek constant validation from those around them. This can be in the form of compliments, flattery or other forms of verbal reassurance.
They need this validation because they are terribly insecure, and need constant validation in order to be able to live with themselves. Unfortunately, this often results in hurt feelings as their desperate search for validation may result in them stealing the credit for work or ideas that are not theirs, or other unethical tactics that harm others in the workplace.
11 Signs You Are Working with a Narcissist – (11) They refuse feedback
If someone tries to give a narcissist even the most constructive of criticism, the narcissist will view this as an attack against them rather than as an opportunity for growth. This can lead to defensive behavior such as trying to pass the buck on to someone else, or avoidance of conversations altogether.
This refusal to accept feedback is a sign of insecurity, as the narcissist is not willing to acknowledge that there is any room for improvement in their performance. It also indicates a lack of respect for others and their opinions, which inevitably creates feelings of animosity and resentment amongst coworkers.
Protecting Yourself from the Narcissist at Work
Working with a narcissist can be difficult, but there are ways to protect yourself. Here are some tactics you can use to guard yourself against the toxicity of their behavior:
Keeping track of decisions made in meetings and emails sent can help provide evidence when needed to back-up claims or defend against accusations from the narcissist. Documentation can also create an audit trail that is useful should there be any conflicts and disputes.
Build Support Networks
Surrounding yourself with trustworthy colleagues can help provide emotional support when dealing with a narcissistic person in the workplace. Additionally, having allies who have your back in meetings or difficult conversations can help ensure your voice is heard and respected.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a narcissist’s manipulation tactics is to remain professional and focused on the task at hand. Arguing over personal matters will only open doors for them to take control of the situation which should be avoided as much as possible.
Once you recognize any narcissistic behavior in the workplace, it is important to set boundaries with the person displaying it. Establish clear expectations regarding how much attention you will give them, what type of communication is appropriate between you two, and how often they can reach out to you. When confronting them directly about this behavior, remain firm but respectful in your language.
Know Your Rights
Make sure you know your rights as an employee and keep up-to-date on any applicable labor laws that may apply in your situation. If you feel like someone is taking advantage of you or violating any regulations, it is important that you consult an attorney or other qualified professional for advice before taking action on your own behalf.
Take Care Of Yourself
Finally, it is important that you prioritize your own wellbeing when dealing with a narcissist at work. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day where possible and engage in activities that help decrease stress like deep breathing exercises or yoga stretches. If needed, talk to a mental health professional about ways to manage any feelings of anxiety or depression as a result of this toxic environment.
Final Thoughts about Narcissism in the Workplace
Working with a narcissist can be incredibly draining and damaging to your self-esteem, so recognizing these 11 warning signs that you might be working with a narcissist is key to safeguarding yourself.
The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself when dealing with a narcissistic coworker. From documenting decisions to building support networks and knowing your rights, there are tangible steps you can take to safeguard yourself against their negative behavior.
Keeping an eye out for the 11 signs outlined in this post will help you recognize the potential warning signs of a narcissist in the workplace and arm you with tactics on how to deal with them.