5 Signs Your Boss is Narcissistic

Hey Optimist Minds!

In the professional world, equally prioritising performance and employee satisfaction can lead to long-term growth. A good boss is someone who can manage both these things successfully. Unfortunately, the world is full of people in positions of authority who focus more on performance. Sometimes, even at the expense of their team’s mental health.

When a narcissist holds such a position, it can create a toxic work environment. Even if the organisation performs well financially, the people working there face many challenges. A narcissistic boss can make you feel stressed, burnt out, and even depressed.

In this video, we will explain how to know if your boss is a narcissist. You can use this information to understand your situation better and to seek help. However, this video is not meant to diagnose anyone or to judge narcissists.

Now, let’s look at five signs your boss is narcissistic.

Number One

They always have to be right.

Does your boss hate it when people disagree with them? Do they undermine what others have to say and insist that they know better?

While it’s natural for someone with more experience to feel they know what’s best, this shouldn’t come in the way of open communication. A narcissist is usually a lousy listener. They’ll interrupt frequently, dismiss what you have to say, demean you for saying it, especially if they don’t agree.

Studies have found that narcissism is negatively correlated with agreeableness. If your boss is narcissistic, you’ll notice that they don’t seem approachable to most people. They may enjoy the work that they do but prefer to be self-reliant. Whenever they have to collaborate with others, they get bored or drop the project if there’s a clash in how to approach it.

Number Two

They lack empathy.

Does your boss give you a hard time when you request leave for emergencies? Do they seem indifferent to their employees’ feelings?

An inability to feel empathy is an essential diagnostic criterion of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Individuals with narcissistic tendencies don’t care about how their actions impact others. They’re so self-absorbed that they only care about their own needs and demands.

It doesn’t matter if you’re sick, if your family needs you, or that you’re getting overwhelmed. A narcissistic boss will still expect you to deliver what they ask of you. Falling short of that, they will make you feel worthless and incompetent.

Number Three

They exploit their employees.

Does this person steal credit for something that others did? As a boss, do they use people’s insecurities against them?

A powerful post gives the narcissist access to decisions and roles that impact the career of other coworkers. This can be disastrous for subordinates because narcissists tend to be vindictive. If something you did upsets them, they take advantage of the power dynamic and make it hard for you to work effectively.

Employees may end up compromising their professional boundaries just to prevent that. They might work overtime without pay, answer calls at ungodly hours, and do things that fall outside their job profile. This exploitation can also include sexual harassment. If employees don’t comply, the narcissistic boss makes them pay.

Number Four

They seek constant admiration.

Do you often feel like your boss is fishing for compliments? Do they like to remind everyone about their strengths and achievements?

Narcissists have an unrelinquishable thirst for admiration. No amount of positive feedback is ever enough for them. That’s why they tend to favour sycophants and oppress anyone who gives them constructive criticism.

Researchers have found that narcissistic bosses believe they have excellent leadership skills, even though that’s untrue. In fact, individuals with NPD are generally bad at mentoring, and they’re not very effective leaders. Despite that, a narcissistic boss will keep reiterating how lucky you are to work under him.

Number Five

They have horrible anger outbursts.

Is your boss prone to irritation and annoyance? Do they display aggression either passively or quite violently?

Rage is the only emotion a narcissist is truly able to feel. All other emotional experiences are simply superficial. If your boss frequently throws unnecessary temper tantrums and doesn’t show any other genuine emotion, they may be narcissistic.

A study done on the behaviour of narcissists in the workplace found that such individuals engage in many counterproductive work behaviours. These behaviours involve anger and result in an overall wastage of resources. Their narcissistic rage becomes more visible if someone tries to question or defy them.

Did any of the signs mentioned here remind you of your boss? Do you think they might have narcissistic tendencies? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below. 

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.


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