Narcissism and Narcissistic personality disorder in the work place

The author of this module is
Julian Eyears
image of Narcissism and Narcissistic personality disorder in the work place

Occupational Health Considerations

Narcissists in the workplace principally make others unhappy, often leading to those employees exhibiting healthy worker syndrome and moving their employment to another organisation, either because they are unable or unwilling to articulate the problem or that HR or managers will not listen or act on their deputations. Narcissism and Narcissistic personality disorder in the workplace is partially understood and documented both by psychologists and HR organisations. Narcissistic traits (exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, a lack of empathy, seeking abusive power over others) run counter to desirable personality in work traits (e.g. inclusivity, openness, sharing) but narcissists frequently enjoy promotion. Desire for admiration, grandiose self-belief, inability to take criticism, lack of empathy, fickleness of decision making, poor mentoring make for poor leaders. However many narcissists do achieve positions of authority chiefly perhaps due to ruthless competitiveness and empire building Narcissism is positively related to counterproductive workplace behaviours; initiating rumours, sabotage and ridicule of others efforts, aggression, wasting other employees time, anti-team behaviour. Experienced and trained employee raters evaluate narcissists more favourably, at least initially. UK Psychologist Oliver James identifies narcissism as one of three dark triadic personality traits in the workplace. Narcissists rely on narcissistic supply (harnessing other peoples good will to feed their vision of themselves). Any challenge to that belief may be met with aggression as it strikes at the core of the narcissists fantasy of themselves.

Clinical Aspects

There is a narcissistic spectrum. Key contributors to a high spectrum score are :- A personal sense of self-importance that exceeds the norm or what might be considered warranted by others. Low empathy for others Inability to perceive criticism as constructive (as it likely deflates their sense of self importance and specialness) Use others good will to feed their own fantastical image of themselves being superior (the so called narcissistic supply) A need for admiration that may present as boasting, exaggeration of achievements or seeking high office Expect to be recognised as superior and will fight hard to achieve positions that will afford that view Obsessing about and openly claiming selfish qualities such as beauty, success, sexual prowess etc Monopolise conversations and fail to listen to contrary view Condescending behaviour Envious of some others and nervous in their company Insist on having and displaying the best of everything : home, office, car, phone, wealth, golf course, partner Remind you of any politicians by any chance? ;)

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