How To Spot Narcissism At Workplace – Tips To Deal With It

Written By Assma Riaz

A person with having narcissistic personality possesses an increased sense of self-importance. There’s an excessive craving for admiration in such people.

What will I learn?

Narcissists can’t handle criticism, and they never regard the feelings of other people.

How To Know About The Narcissism At Workplace

Spotting narcissists is challenging, and it’s more like a personality disorder. Narcissism can be anywhere, but what does it mean to have selfishness at the workplace?

We can choose the people we live with, not the people working with us. Narcissism can be in any one of them.

It can be your boss, the newbie in your team, or a coworker you are working with.

Researches show that between 0.5%-1% of the population have narcissistic personalities. Not a large number but quite considerable.

You might be dealing with a narcissist at the workplace without even being aware of it.

Here are some signs to spot a narcissist in your office.

1. Narcissists Are Never Satisfied

Narcissists are never satisfied with what you provide them at work. Even if you add extra details, put more effort or time, they will always be unsatisfied.

Narcissists Always Want Others To Improve
Narcissists Are Never Satisfied

A narcissistic boss always sets the bar above where you can get to.

2. Narcissism At Workplace – Self-Centeredness

They always give feedback by referring to themselves as the best example. Instead of saying, here’s what to do, narcissists say, here’s how to be like me.

3. No Long-Term Friendships

Narcissists have few to zero long-term friendships or relationships. Unlike most of us, who have lots of long-term friends, they have no single one.

We keep the people in our contact list with whom we worked in the past as a friend.

But narcissists haven’t found anyone worth keeping off.

4. Narcissism At Workplace – Make Others Cry

Narcissists do their best to make people cry and then feel sad about it. They force someone else to clear up the tears of their victims.

They make people exhausted by ensuring that their performance was not good enough.

5. Narcissists Never Leave A Successor

Narcissists never leave a successor. They are good enough to have someone even closer to them.

Narcissists Never Consider Someone Good Enough To Be Like Them
Narcissists Never Leave A Successor

Such people are always criticizing everyone unless the person is complimenting them.

They criticize and diminish everyone to meet their ego.

6. They Always Seem Nice

Narcissists present themselves nice in the beginning until you see their true colors.

They will bring down your confidence and destroy your ability to work hard.

Watch out! It won’t be easy to protect your team from them, and it’s not possible to win.

How To Deal With Narcissism At Workplace

Protecting yourself from a narcissist at the workplace is a significant thing to do. Here are some tips you can follow for a safe exit.

1. Get The Things Written To Deal With Narcissism

If your narcissistic boss gives you verbal orders, ask him to send you an email. You can defend yourself by having written demands of a narcissist.

You can also get the narcissistic boss’ orders written in email and review them for accuracy.

Narcissism At Workplace Can Be Dealt With Proofs
Get The Things Written To Deal With Narcissism

It will help if you keep written documentation of what narcissist says and when. Write down as many verbal quotes of the narcissist as possible.

Also, the dates and times will be helpful in case you consider an attorney later on.

2. Narcissism At Workplace – Don’t Get Into A Fight

The narcissist always finds ways to get you in trouble, either by calling you demoted or fired.

They’ll find your weak spot and exploit it. So don’t ever give them such an opportunity.

Do not give a narcissist the satisfaction of putting you down. Remember that such people are sick, and you need to walk away.

Document the date, time, location and keep records of this interaction.

3. Understand That It’s Not Personal

You might be the main target of the narcissist. But you are not the only one. Narcissism targets everyone who is performing better.

Narcissism At Workplace
Understand That Its Not Personal

Even narcissists target people who have a good set of friends. They hate every person that looks better than them.

Remember that narcissist’s behaviour has nothing to do with you. It’s all about them and the insecurity they feel.

4. Avoid Giving Personal Information To A Narcissist

A narcissist is famous for asking, “what do you think about that coworker? Don’t ever get into such traps.

No matter what answer you give. He’ll twist it and tell it to that coworker.

Narcissism At Workplace
Avoid Giving Personal Information To A Narcissist

If you tell him about your divorce, the narcissist will light up. How do you cope up with this situation? Walk away and do anything but give up the information.

5. Narcissism At Workplace – Keep A Witness

When you get asked by a narcissist coworker to see him in private, always bring someone as a witness.

If you have someone around as a witness, a narcissist will think before saying something.

In case they lie about that interaction with your boss, you’ll have someone to support you.

6. Narcissism At Workplace – Keep Away From Coming Into Contact

It may sound useful, but it’s the hardest thing to do. If you don’t want to get trapped in a narcissist’s game, don’t engage with them.

Avoid Close Relations With Narcissists
Narcissism At Workplace – Keep Away From Coming Into Contact

When you must have to interact with them, keep it to the facts. If working with a narcissist is affecting your performance.

Then you must ask for a different location in the office where you can work in peace.

7. Know Your Legal Rights To Deal With Narcissism

Narcissists stay in line and still damage others’ skills and abilities; they are aware of what they are doing.

But sometimes, they cross that legal line out of jealousy. Here you should be aware of your legal rights, especially if the narcissist is your boss.

You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to protect your rights.

What Effect Narcissism Leaves At Culture

Narcissism at the workplace destroys the culture!

People lose their confidence if they have to face constant criticism at work. Employees are tired; they are trying their best yet achieving significantly less.

Above all, the most major loss is the crack in relationships caused by narcissism.

Most of the narcissists made a “hub and spoke” model in the workplace. They consider themselves the hub, and everyone should come to them.

Narcissism Destroys The Company Culture To An Extreme Extent
What Effect Narcissism Leaves At Culture

Narcissists don’t like when employees make relationships across the team. And start being suspicious if two other people are getting along well.

That’s because they aren’t confident themselves, so they don’t allow others to connect.

The safety of the team gets in danger, and everyone is suspicious towards the other. The narcissist criticizes everyone and causes such a situation.

All these factors together portray the team to be dysfunctional. In reality, it’s the leader who’s dysfunctional and creates this mess.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Narcissists Behave At Work?

Narcissists try to be good human beings. When you first see them, they'll be open, agreeable, and entertaining. They keep friendly expressions on face and tend to be neat dressers. Their body movements are, however, more self-assured.

Do Narcissists Help Others?

Some narcissists are helpful and devote their lives to help others. They derive their feelings of self-worth from their generosity. So the answer is Yes, narcissists help others, but such cases are rare.

What Happens When You Distant Yourself From A Narcissist?

If you distance yourself from a narcissist, they'll do whatever possible to bring you back. That's because they don't want to get abandoned. They need you to feed their ego and supply their selfish needs.

How Do You Stand Up To A Narcissist?

The best way to stand up to a narcissist begins with accepting them. Break the spell they have created and speak up. It would help if you had boundaries, but be ready for pushback. It would help if you found some support and demand for action.


In the end, narcissists are into anything that makes them look better. Everyone else looks up to the narcissist until they figure out what the real game is.

Narcissism does a lot of damage to the workplace, and narcissists keep up their blame game.

So as soon as you spot narcissism in the workplace, distance yourself to protect your peace of mind.

Life is short. Don’t waste even a moment with someone narcissistic. You deserve better!

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Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad

Assma Riaz

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