Dealing With Difficult People

How many times have you worked with or for an individual who was so dramatic and emotional that you found it hard to get your work done? Some people are so self-absorbed that they don’t hear anything you say unless it is about them.  What’s worse is a power hungry boss with these traits. Managers like this stop at nothing to get accolades and compliments. It is not of the question for these narcissists to steamroll colleagues making it extremely difficult to work with them.

Management positions are a magnet for these types of personalities. Being in a high level position allows the opportunity for these individuals to highlight their superiority while also reinforcing their belief that they deserve the best of everything. Dealing with the daily stress of this personality type would drive even the best employees to leave or quit the company. Unfortunately in today’s economy this is not an option at least in the short term, though there are alternatives.

The true narcissist has a brilliant personality complete with charm, charisma and a special ability to talk his or her way into the tightest power circles within the company. Often times the only one likely to come out of any negative situation will be the narcissist.

For example, one narcissist who shall remain nameless told a manager verbatim what to do on a particular project. The manager resisted and explained with the narcissist’s approach was likely to fail. The manager went on to discuss a better approach to the project, but the narcissist wouldn’t have it and said it was his way or the highway. The manager did as he was told, but the project failed and the manager was ultimately blamed for it despite the fact that he had protested early on.

While it can be difficult to work for a narcissist, it can be done.  First, an employee needs to be knowledgeable about all of the work processes and procedures. Secondly, an employee needs to be confident in himself and his strengths and abilities because they will be tested. Employees must also expect the unexpected and be prepared for everything. 

It is also important for employees of narcissists to always be on their guard with everything you do or say. Remember, the narcissist will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Employees should always maintain a professional attitude and remain calm, cool, collected, polite and respectful. The person who loses her composer is usually the one who loses the argument. Lastly, someone who is employed by a narcissist will need to document all of his work in case he ever needs to prove his value to the company.

A good upper management can purge a company of destructive narcissists, however it takes time. Those who wish to remain at a company until the narcissist is let go need to develop a thick skin and raw endurance.