A Clear Example of Narcissistic Behavior In The Workplace

Narcissistic behavior in the workplace is more prevalent than one might think, particularly in high-powered organizations which foster a cut-throat competitive culture. At the beginning of my career, I worked for a firm that was famous for its high-performing and aggressive culture. The following is an example of the type of narcissistic behavior that I experienced while working there, and the havoc it left in its wake.

The Impact of Narcissistic Behavior

I was working for a well-known consulting firm, and the team I was a part of was responsible for designing and implementing a new system for our client. Our project leader, let’s call him Mark, was a textbook example of a narcissistic personality.

Mark had years of experience in the industry, and initially, we were all impressed by his knowledge and confidence. However, as the months passed it became clear that his management style was a textbook example of narcissistic behavior.

Example of Narcissistic Behavior – Massive Ego

Mark exhibited several traits of narcissistic behavior that caused significant issues in the workplace. His ego was enormous, and he believed that his ideas were the only ones worth considering. When other team members put forth a suggestion or an idea, Mark would not consider it or even listen to them, no matter how well thought out or effective it may have been.

Mark would take credit for the team’s accomplishments, even if he had little to no involvement in it. He would often throw team members under the bus and blame them for mistakes that were not their responsibility. In meetings, he would belittle members of the team, ignore their opinions and dismiss their ideas.

Mark demanded respect, but would not give it, instead relying on a ‘shock and awe’ leadership style. Whenever he spoke, which was often, everyone in the room was expected to fall silent and listen to him speak. Any interruption of his monologue, even for a second, would be met with deathly stares and a sharp rebuke.

Example of Narcissistic Behavior – Lack of Empathy

Mark’s lack of empathy towards his team went beyond ignoring their ideas and not giving them credit for their work. He would routinely cancel scheduled vacation leave, causing havoc for team members who had made plans with their families. This would often happen at the very last minute, leaving employees scrambling to contact airlines or to cancel other travel arrangements they had made.

To top it all, Mark insisting that the team work long hours and weekends, destroying any semblance of work-life balance. We all felt that our lives had become a never-ending cycle of work, with no time to rest, relax, or pursue our interests. We were all just cogs in a machine, working tirelessly to meet our deadlines without any consideration for our wellbeing or personal lives.

Inevitably, Mark’s behavior had a major impact on the team’s morale and productivity. We were exhausted, demotivated and frustrated. Communication within the team deteriorated, and conflicts that arose were not resolved effectively. This, in turn, affected the project, and there was significant delay in delivering the product.

Furthermore, Mark’s behavior caused the team members to become increasingly stressed and unhappy, which led to a high turnover rate. Several team members left the organization, which resulted in significant cost and delays for the project.

example of narcissistic behavior workplace

Example of Narcissistic Behavior – Gaslighting

The last straw for me occurred as we were approaching the end of the project. Mark called a meeting and made explicit promises about bonuses linked to delivering within the new timeframes agreed with the client. Several team members, including myself, took detailed notes of these promises.

However, after two months of excruciatingly long days, when the project was finally delivered, Mark reneged on his promises. To top it all he even claimed that he had not made any commitments of the sort, implying that we were lying. I was stunned by his response – it was clear that there was no future for me in this firm, so I handed in my resignation the very next day.

Final Thoughts

Mark’s narcissistic behavior incited division and conflict within the team, leading to a low morale and negative attitude among his team members. His self-centeredness led to a lack of collaboration and teamwork, grinding valuable projects to a halt.

However, the biggest casualty of John’s behavior was the company’s reputation. All the employees, clients, and stakeholders took notice of John’s behavior and could easily see that he was more interested in self-promotion than the good of the project.

In conclusion, narcissistic behavior causes conflict, demotivates employees, creates dysfunction within teams, and ultimately, harms the company’s bottom line. It is crucial for executives and management to recognize and deal with such behavior immediately, as it may otherwise have long-term negative effects on an organization’s performance and reputation.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment