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How Narcissism At Work Is Destroying Your Company Culture

5 min read   |  
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Do you work in an environment where some coworkers seem to go out of their way to draw everyone's attention to themselves? If that's the case, you're most likely dealing with a textbook case of narcissism at work.

You might not notice narcissism. However, if it goes unnoticed, it can severely influence your culture, people, and engagement levels in a negative manner.

One must address this issue promptly to be a sustainable and efficient workplace. This article will help you figure out narcissism so that you can build a people-centric work environment.

What is Narcissism Disorder?

Narcissism is defined as excessive self-involvement to the point where a person ignores the necessities of others around them. While everyone exhibits occasional narcissistic behavior, true narcissists often disregard others or people's feelings, and they are also unaware of the impact their actions have on others.

While narcissism is a trait, it can be a part of a prolonged narcissistic personality disorder or NPD. It is not that common, and according to a study, 0.5% or 1 in 200 people in the United States has the disorder. Another important thing to keep in mind is that 75% of people with narcissistic personality disorder are men.

Not every person, a narcissist, falls under the NPD as it is a wide spectrum. People at the higher end of the spectrum are classified as having NPD, and the ones that are still narcissistic fall under the lower end of the spectrum.

But how do you spot narcissism or the red flags when working with a narcissist? Let us delve more into that.

Signs Of a Narcissist in the Workplace?

To address the problem of narcissism at work, one has to observe and understand the signs that a narcissistic person shows. Below is a list of the most common signs of narcissistic behavior in the workplace you can spot without difficulty.

  • Narcissist people have a superior sense of grandiosity about themselves. Their behaviors, expressions, and reactions often tend to be over the top.

  • They are constantly on the lookout for praise and recognition for every little thing they do.

  • People with narcissism often fantasize about being in power and control over everyone.

  • Narcissistic people have an inflated sense of entitlement and expect special treatment.

  • Narcissists lack empathy and the ability to sympathize with their peers.

  • Narcissistic people engage in manipulative behavior that has a negative impact on others.

  • They are quite arrogant and have superior belief in their capabilities.

  • Narcissists cannot handle the slightest criticism pointed against them.

5 Negative Impacts of Narcissism At Work

1. Hampers Team Unity


Teamwork is what makes a good team efficient and productive, with a focus on being creative to help the organization. And teamwork is only possible when all members of the cooperate well together. However, team unity may be jeopardized if a narcissist is present on the team.

A narcissist will always try to undermine what others say in order to prove that their viewpoint is superior. This can lead to a sense of inferiority complex among team members, which can lower employees' confidence.

Furthermore, few team members will agree with the narcissist's point of view. On the other hand, some team members may disagree and present a practical viewpoint to the entire group. This can cause a lot of confusion and, in the long run, may lead to unwanted team conflict, reducing the team's success rate.

2. Diminishes Collaboration


Fruitful collaboration efforts pave the way to stronger team unity. In the absence of cooperation, achieving the goals and objectives becomes a daunting task. But, when a narcissistic team member is present, collaboration becomes a difficult feat to achieve.

A narcissistic employee will never believe in the concept of teamwork. They would rather work alone, avoiding any type of collaboration that could jeopardize the team's efficiency. One of the reasons for this is that narcissists want to stand out from the crowd, take all the appreciation, and be the center of attention.

When such employees refuse to collaborate, a void is created during team projects because the individual's skills and abilities may be difficult to replace. In the long run, this hampers the collaborative abilities of everyone and creates hurdles on the road to success.

3. Hinders Employee Satisfaction


Team unity and collaboration are only possible if all employees are happy. Employees' levels of satisfaction are greatly influenced by their working conditions. It is difficult to improve higher levels of satisfaction in the absence of a positive workplace environment.

Creating a positive working environment becomes difficult if your organization includes narcissists. The main issue arises when they begin interfering with the professional lives of their coworkers. They try to influence them negatively by undermining their morale and showing no appreciation or sympathy towards them.

Narcissists always appear superior and look down on their coworkers. This can result in a toxic workplace environment, which has a negative impact on employee satisfaction.

4. Decreases Workplace Productivity and Engagement


Creating a work culture that fosters high productivity and employee engagement levels is challenging.

You need to have an accurate plan that fits well with your organization and strategize it accordingly. The main problem arises in the sustainability of the plans that you already have. However, if a narcissist exists in your workplace, productivity can go down the hill.

A narcissistic personality in the workplace is likely to grow overconfident and arrogant with time. They tend to ignore team directions which creates an imbalance that hinders any ongoing project. Moreover, they are unlikely to help others unless it benefits them in some way.

This can have a negative impact on the rest of the workforce that affects the overall productivity and engagement levels. In the long run, this will increase the employees' frustration levels, leading to high employee stress and burnout.

5. Tarnishes Work Culture


The foundation of good work culture is dependent on the people. Without a balanced workforce, achieving the desired work culture is difficult. However, it becomes even harder to achieve with a narcissist in the workplace.

They not only degrade the workplace culture with their arrogance, but they also grab credit for the work of others. This causes a lot of confusion and issues in the workplace, hurting the company's culture and lowering employee satisfaction. Moreover, a great culture with toxic employees will slowly turn toxic itself.

When such scenarios arise, it becomes difficult for a company to create positive employee feedback that will help it build a positive reputation in the marketplace.

Summing It Up!

The issue of narcissism in the workplace is widespread, and understanding the underlying causes is critical. You must resolve it in order to achieve a more efficient workflow and a satisfied workforce. A well-planned strategy ahead of time will give you an advantage in the long run. Furthermore, if a situation arises in which you must deal with narcissists, you will be well prepared to deal with them while maintaining a prosperous work environment.

Mrinmoy Rabha is a content writer and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. He is an avid follower of football and passionate about singing. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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