Tackling Narcissism in the Workplace

narcissism in the workplace

In this article, Sydney Career Coach, Tina Monk, provides tips on how to deal with toxic co-workers who take credit for your work or sabotage your achievements.

Tackling Narcissism in the Workplace

Many of us have worked with toxic co-workers in our workplace at some point in our lives. Think, someone who enjoys taking the credit for your work or those who don’t shy away from throwing you under the bus when the situation arises! But, what about narcissist co-workers? Even though not all narcissist co-workers are threatening, there is a need to identify them to avoid any pitfalls at the workplace.

How Do You Recognise Narcissists At Your Workplace?

Narcissists believe they are above everyone else and have minimal regard for the feelings of their direct reports or colleagues. They put the ‘me’ in meetings and talk endlessly about how they are an asset to the company. Remember the person who just wouldn’t stop blabbering about their achievements, or displayed an excessive need for admiration or struggled to handle criticism at all times? The trouble gets worse if you are working for a narcissist boss.

Signs you may be working with a narcissist

Here are some signs that can help you identify if you are working with/for a narcissist:

Bad Sport
Narcissists like to gloat about their victory and resort to excessive arguing with colleagues in case of a loss. In a professional situation, if their opinions are not taken into consideration, they show reluctance or sulk openly. They are only content when their suggestion gets acted upon so they can re-emphasise how important they are for the organisation.

Seek Validation
Narcissists love to dominate conferences, seminars, meetings, email discussions and presentations. They see such events as opportunities to hog the limelight and put others down. The idea is to make themselves appear influential and powerful.

Need for Leadership
Experts believe their need for validation makes narcissists seek positions of high leadership. They crave for a status where people can report to them directly, and they can exercise authority over a team. Unfortunately, these very traits are then used by narcissists to justify rude behaviour with their subordinates.

How to Deal With Narcissist Co-workers

Narcissists have a fire in their belly and can be great motivators to inspire others. That is until things don’t go their way and all hell can break loose. If you are unsure about how to deal with a narcissist at work, here are some tips to help you proceed with caution:

Manage Your Expectations
Working for a narcissist involves constantly giving them attention and praise. However, don’t expect the same in return. If you want to succeed in a day-to-day work routine, it is best to follow the ‘no-strings-attached’ rule. Even though it is entirely natural to desire recognition and respect, the sooner you accept the reality, the better.

Be The Best You Can Be
It’s possible your narcissistic boss may only comment and notice your flaws while the good work goes by unnoticed. Or, they may hold you to unreasonably high standards to point fingers at you when you falter. The best you can do is to minimise any chances of conflict by not allowing them to pull you down. Be professional and reliable and take the high road when they stoop low.

 Set Boundaries
A narcissist often tries to suck the energy out of you by pushing you to your extreme limits. It helps to set exact parameters so they cannot take undue advantage of you. Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries as you are merely protecting yourself from resenting them down the line and are holding your own.

Helping you deal with conflict in the workplace

At Sydney Career Coaching can help you in dealing with difficult people or situations in the workplace. Often, people with narcissistic co-workers miss out on learning opportunities as they don’t get a chance to see their ideas succeed. We can help you cope if you find yourself in a similar situation. You don’t have to do it alone.

Whether you are trying to climb up the corporate ladder or looking to improve your work relationships with your manager or co-workers, we can help.

Get in touch with us today!

Complimentary career coaching introduction

Take advantage of our complimentary career coaching session to determine whether coaching is for you.  We provide career coaching advice throughout Australia via remotely, telephone and in person at Neutral Bay on Sydney’s North Shore.


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Tina Monk, Executive Coach Sydney

Sydney career coach and advisor, Tina Monk’s education and professional development has focused mostly on how to understand people and bring out the best in them. Tina has been offering executive coaching services for 20 years and continues to develop as a career advisor. Her approach is said to be caring with a bit of  ‘tough love’ thrown in!  Call or text Tina directly at 0413 000 010.

During these challenging times, we don’t need more fear, we need more hope and support.  If you are afraid of losing your job or have lost it, Tina can help you to future proof your career or help with your job search.  She can work with you remotely and is offering discounts on her fees during this time.