5 Signs You’re Dealing With a Narcissistic Boss or Manager

A common misconception about a narcissistic person is that they are individuals who are overconfident and love to do nothing more than stare at themselves in the mirror all day long. Even though there could be some truth in that, a narcissistic person is much more than that. Psychologists describe individuals with a narcissistic personality order as “individuals who exhibit a lack of ability to empathise with others and an inflated sense of self-importance”. People with a narcissistic personality disorder truly believe that they’re superior to others and literally have little to no regard for other people’s feelings.

There’s no exception, you will find them in families, group of friends and especially in the workplace – worst case scenario, it could be your boss. Have you been experiencing a lot of unexplainable friction with your boss lately? Have you been getting unpleasant vibes? Yep, you might be dealing with a narcissistic boss or manager:

Lack of empathy

You have been overloaded with tasks and to-do’s at work and you can literally feel yourself drowning… You have expressed your concerns to your boss and to your surprise, it’s clear that your boss could care less.  One of the signs of a narcissistic manager is their casual disregard for your reasonable feelings and needs… or that of any other employee as matter of fact.

A caring manager would gladly send you home when you show up sick to work. However, on the contrary, the narcissistic manager has no problem seeing you work your tales off while you’re ‘sick’ behind your desk – Just get the work done.

Secretly lazy

Narcissistic managers act like they are the saviour of the day, every single day. Truth is, they are incredibly lazy. You will often find a narcissistic manager trying to ‘pick your brain’ (or that of others) because they really don’t feel the need to crack their own brain. Why should they come up with the ideas, when they have you to do that for them. They will often ask it in a form of a favour… the favour, on the other hand, is never returned – Duh! Which leads to the next point…

The thief of ideas

Once the narcissistic manager has managed to pick your brain or used others to do their thinking… they will take whatever idea you have and RUN with it. And when I say run, I mean SPRINT! When I just started a new job this was one of the red flags I dealt with. I had an idea that I had only shared with this particular manager (let’s call her Jennifer) and once I talked to someone else about it, the person said: “Yeah, Jennifer mentioned this to me – Such a great idea of her to come up with this.” However, Jennifer never mentioned that it was my idea. She took the information I gave her and pitched it to others as if it was her own.

It’s a hidden agenda

A sad but shocking truth, the narcissistic manager does not under no circumstances care about #TEAMGOALS. Everything they do or decide is about how it will advance them or make them look.

I used to work under a manager who could ignore me at work for days, but whenever this person needed information for a presentation or meeting they would randomly ask me about my weekend or day… and of course the information they needed for their presentation. In public they pretend to care about the well-being of their team and sometimes might even ‘Thank their team’ for the good work done – The reality, however, is, when the team delivers good work it makes them look good.

Easily takes the credit

This point kind of ties in with the previous two points. As already mentioned, the narcissistic manager cares tremendously about what people think of them and how they look in front of others. So if they need to take the credit for something they DID NOT DO… I repeat they had NADA involvement in this, just because it will make them look good, they will not think twice about doing so.

Besides that, they actually have a hard time praising you for your good work. You will often find them complementing you or commending your work… only when they NEED something from you.

It’s sad but the harsh truth. Dealing with a narcissistic manager can be extremely frustrating and take its toll on your work. However, the sooner you can identify this, the better you will be able to handle these situations.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is a marketing professional and the Founder and Editor of Corporate Career Girl. Her true passion is to empower career girls in the workplace and help them bridge the gap between university and the corporate environment.