How to Deal with a Narcissist Coworker

A narcissist coworker can be very difficult to deal with because of their focus on self-aggrandizement and lack of regard for others. These people are easy to recognize because of their inflated sense of self-importance and craving for admiration and attention, which requires careful handling.

The presence of a narcissistic coworker in the workplace can have a negative impact on morale, productivity, and overall atmosphere.

Narcissistic individuals often demand attention and focus their energies on seeking power and control, which can lead to an unhealthy dynamic that disrupts communication and cooperation between coworkers.

Furthermore, they may attempt to manipulate the environment or situation to their advantage while trying to discredit or belittle others in order to draw attention away from them.

Such behavior has the potential to create toxic working conditions that should be addressed promptly in order to maintain healthy relationships between colleagues and keep up a productive work environment.

how to deal with a narcissist coworker

The Characteristics of a Narcissist Coworker

Narcissism can have a negative impact on any workplace due to its focus on self-aggrandizement and lack of regard for the wants and needs of others.

The following are the main traits of a narcissistic colleague.

An inflated sense of self-importance

Narcissistic coworkers tend to have an inflated self-image and view themselves as superior to others around them.

They typically believe that they should be commended for any work that they do, regardless of the quality or accuracy of their work, and may attempt to take credit for someone else’s accomplishments in order to gain more recognition.

A Constant Need of Admiration

Narcissistic coworkers will often try to draw attention to themselves or talk about how great they are in an attempt to gain approval from others.

They may also expect excessive admiration, while becoming easily offended if they don’t receive the praise they think they deserve.

In truty, these types of behaviors are as a sign of insecurity, but they create an environment of competition instead of collaboration, which can have negative implications for the workplace.

Furthermore, narcissistic coworkers may even use backhanded compliments or belittle colleagues in order to feed their grandiose impression of superiority.

how to deal with a narcissist coworker

Difficulty with Communication

Narcissists tend to have difficulty listening to the views of others, often speaking over them or disregarding any valid points that might be made in favor of pushing their own agenda.

This can lead to tense situations in the workplace, where coworkers might feel unheard and unvalued.

This lack of respect for others often leads to mistrust between colleagues.

Moreover, it can even prevent productive conversations from taking place as people become hesitant to share their ideas or thoughts in fear of being dismissed or talked over.

Unreasonable Demands and Expectations

Narcissists often expect people around them to carry out tasks within an unreasonable timeframe, and often without proper explanation or direction on how it should be done.

They are also entitled, and expect preferential treatment from other coworkers and superiors, believing that their ambitions should take priority over the interests of others.

This kind of behavior can lead to resentment and feelings of being taken advantage of in the workplace, creating an atmosphere of animosity.

narcissism in the workplace

Manipulative Behavior

Often narcissistic coworkers will use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping, withholding information, playing mind games, using threats, and other underhanded methods in order to get what they want from others or gain control over a situation.

These types of behaviors can cause a great deal of stress on other coworkers who feel like they have no power or choice in the matter.

Additionally, it creates a hostile and toxic workplace environment which negatively impacts morale and productivity.

Power Struggles

Narcissists will seek out power in any way possible, whether it’s through dominating conversations or showing off their status among colleagues.

This can lead to disagreements and confrontations that disrupt the atmosphere in the workplace, leading to tension and decreased productivity.

Additionally, they may also resort to using their authority or position to make decisions that benefit themselves instead of the company, which can create a culture of distrust among coworkers and staff.

Ultimately, having narcissistic individuals in any workplace can be emotionally draining and damaging to the overall morale of the team.

how to deal with a narcissist coworker

Techniques to Deal with a Narcissist Coworker

It can be difficult to work out how best to deal with a narcissist coworker, because of the possibility that any mis-step may lead to conflict and uncomfortable situations.

But it is possible to manage the situation in a diplomatic and respectful way.

The following are some effective techniques you can use to deal with your narcissist coworker while avoiding starting an office war.

1. Keep Your Distance

One of the most effective techniques for managing a narcissistic coworker is to keep your distance and avoid any kind of direct or personal contact with them.

This means avoiding private conversations, one-on-one meetings, and any discussions related to personal topics.

Whenever possible, limit interactions with this colleague to strictly business matters and keep the focus on results-oriented topics.

couple arguing

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries and limits for yourself when it comes to dealing with a narcissistic colleague is essential in order to maintain peace and protect yourself from their manipulation.

Establish clear expectations for how they should treat you, be assertive if they cross any lines and make sure that you do not let them take advantage of your kindness or defer to them in any way.

3. Remain Calm

When faced with a difficult situation, it’s important that you remain calm and composed no matter what they might say or do.

Avoid responding in anger and instead use active listening skills to show respect while still asserting yourself, such as acknowledging what they are saying while expressing your own thoughts on the matter at hand.

4. Speak Up For Yourself

While it can be intimidating, speaking up for yourself is one of the most important steps for setting limits and preventing a narcissistic coworker from taking advantage of you or engaging in manipulative behaviors.

Focus on being honest yet diplomatic when communicating your feelings, making sure not to engage in aggressive behavior but still standing up for yourself without fear.

argument at work

5. Don’t Take Anything Personally

Finally, it is important for both your mental health and your relationship with the co-worker to remember that anything said by a narcissist should not be taken personally.

Narcissists often project their own self-loathing onto others, so try to view any confrontations or criticisms as an attack against themselves rather than a personal assault on you.

In this way, you can avoid allowing their words to take a toll on you mentally or emotionally.

6. Don’t Indulge in Office Gossip

It is important to be aware that office gossip can be a dangerous game when working with a narcissist coworker.

Narcissists use gossip as a way to manipulate and control those around them, and engaging in gossip with them may leave you vulnerable to manipulation.

Therefore, it is best to avoid any conversations related to office gossip.

As much as possible, focus on results-oriented topics and ensure that all discussions remain professional.

how to deal with a narcissist coworker no gossip

7. Listen actively

When engaging with a narcissist coworker, actively listening to their concerns and opinions is paramount for avoiding potential conflicts.

In order to be an effective listener, keep eye contact, give verbal and non-verbal cues that demonstrate that you are attentive, and refrain from interrupting or providing advice unless asked.

Additionally, it is essential to remain respectful and open-minded even if you do not agree with their viewpoint.

Acknowledging one another’s views shows respect and understanding which can help create a pleasant atmosphere in the workplace.

8. Be Aware of Your Body Language

Body language and non-verbal communication are both key components of creating healthy boundaries in the workplace, especially with a narcissist coworker.

Paying attention to how they respond could provide clues as to how they’re feeling and whether or not they are open to speaking with you.

Utilizing subtle signals like maintaining eye contact and offering a smile can help create a positive atmosphere without coming across as overly fawning.

It’s important to remember that you want to maintain an air of respect while also showing that you are confident in your own abilities and opinions.

This shows them that you are taking their feelings into consideration without giving them too much power or control over the conversation.

9. Stay Focused on Goals

Always focus on getting successful results and do not allow your narcissist coworker to drag you into petty arguments and power struggles.

This kind of mentality will help you stay productive while still preserving positive workplace dynamics even if challenging situations arise.

It is essential to be mindful of this approach so as not to become derailed by the conflicts created by your coworker in the work environment.

Final Thoughts on How to Deal with a Narcissist Coworker

Handling and understanding narcissistic coworkers can be difficult, but following a few simple tips can help ensure success.

Start by being mindful of the conversations you have with them and what topics should be avoided to prevent unnecessary conflict in the workplace and maintain professional relationships.

Additionally, try to remain focused on getting successful results instead of petty arguments or power struggles.

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