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6 Signs of a Narcissistic Boss and How to Deal With It
Mental Health

6 Signs of a Narcissistic Boss and How to Deal With It

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on January 3, 2023
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6 min

A narcissistic boss can be challenging to deal with on a daily basis. There are ways you can manage this problem in the workplace, but what are they? We provide 6 signs of a narcissistic boss and strategies for handling their personality at work.

Narcissistic boss
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Dealing with narcissistic people can be frustrating. 

They may have some negative personality traits that affect their behaviors, actions, and conversations. Narcissism is draining to witness, especially in the workplace. Your boss could show common signs of this trait that make work less enjoyable. 

Don’t worry, because there are ways you can stay positive while learning to manage their personal attitudes. Learning about the common signs of narcissism could ensure you’re making the right decisions when it comes to pleasing your boss.

In this article, you’ll discover 6 signs of a narcissistic boss and ways to deal with them. 

Narcissistic Boss: What Are the Signs?

There are many signs that point toward narcissism. People notice these red flags when working in close quarters with the person. So, if your boss lacks empathy and seems to make everything about them, then they are showing huge narcissistic personality traits. 

Here are 6 signs you have a narcissistic boss: 

#1 Only talking about themselves

People who show narcissistic traits usually think about themselves constantly. They could make conversations about their lives and achievements. A narcissistic boss will especially disregard other employees to make their power status more dominant. 

For example, if you spoke about your success in reaching a project milestone, your boss could shut the achievement down by detailing their own accomplishments. Naturally, employees won’t feel appreciated when completing tasks in their jobs.

#2 They want to be praised

A study found that narcissistic bosses may have low self-esteem. The negative personality traits hide signs of vulnerability and insecurity. By constantly seeking appraisal from others at work, they feed the superior and powerful status.

Because of this constant need for attention, their egos are fragile. Anyone who doesn’t give positive feedback will be met with narcissistic rage. Of course, this demanding behavior is mentally draining, which can negatively affect employees’ job performance. 

#3 They don’t have empathy

Narcissistic bosses lack empathy when it comes to listening. They don’t understand why other people may have mental health struggles. So, if employees wanted to express personal concerns, their boss wouldn’t try to empathize with their current feelings. 

People could then feel anxious when discussing certain problems at work. Studies show that anxiety increases blood pressure, leading to a range of other health issues. Your boss is a narcissist if they can’t offer some kind of support or empathy for others. 

#4 They are manipulative 

Those who have narcissistic bosses may feel pressured to complete certain tasks at work. An authoritative figure with narcissistic traits tends to take advantage of employees. This could be down to the superior status that makes them feel powerful. 

Common signs of manipulation comprise passive aggression, blatant lying, gaslighting, guilt tactics, and violating boundaries. Bosses with narcissistic leadership may do most of these actions in the workplace to keep employees “aware” of their status. 

#5 They are very competitive

Narcissistic bosses will think that there are only winners and losers in the world. They strive to win every scenario – no matter how big or small. A narcissist has to show their superiority around others to feel like a winner and boast about their own success.  

#6 They hate criticism

Someone with narcissistic personality traits will hate criticism. They even take constructive feedback as a personal attack against them. A study found that narcissists derogate others to prove how “powerful” they are in the workplace. 

People with an exaggerated sense of self-importance never believe they are in the wrong. Pathological narcissism promotes insecurity, which adds to this behavior. They want constant admiration and praise to stop any insecure thoughts from worsening.

What Is Narcissism?

Narcissism is exaggerated self-importance, which means the person highly values themselves. They will disregard others and manipulate people to do certain things. This trait isn’t always presented straight away upon first meeting them.

Some medical professionals classify this type of personality as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) due to negative behaviors. The person will almost obsess over their hierarchy and bring close people down to gain a strong sense of entitlement. 

For example, someone who believes they are the most important person in a team-focused business could be seen as narcissistic. These thoughts and beliefs are damaging, especially when it comes to bullying friends, partners, and family members.

There is no medication for narcissistic personality disorder, but doctors usually recommend psychological treatment. Long-term counseling could help the person identify their wrongful attitudes and how it’s damaging to everyone around them. 

6 Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Boss

There are some ways you can deal with your boss while focusing on your own needs. You don’t need to worry about getting on their bad side anymore. It’s all about monitoring their attitudes in the workplace to avoid dangerous mood swings. 

Below, you’ll find 6 ways to deal with a narcissistic boss: 

#1 Compliment them

Since your boss requires praise constantly, it’s worth complimenting them every now and then to stay on their good side. You could talk about their leadership skills or dedication to the company, but the compliments should always sound genuine. 

#2 Manage your expectations

Lowering your expectations of your boss can prevent hurt feelings. Remember that mental disorders like NPD mainly show negative personality traits. They are bound to treat everyone the same way, especially if they are keen on showing superiority. 

People who expect too much are more likely to suffer at work. Narcissists encourage emotional reactive abuse to pin the blame on you. This means they’ll slowly get under your skin to gain a reaction and feel better about their own damaging behaviors. 

#3 Be reliable

Your boss is more likely to have trust in reliable employees. Being on time, working hard, completing challenging tasks, and giving positive feedback are things you can do. Someone with narcissistic traits usually picks up on certain energies around them. 

For example, if you kept showing up late, your boss has an excuse to be angry. Never give them reasons to degrade your feelings or make you feel worthless. So, learn to understand your own self-worth by being reliable and staying positive at work. 

#4 Get support

You could speak to the human resources department for support. They could offer some expert advice for approaching a narcissistic boss. However, not everyone is comfortable doing that, so it’s worth seeking help outside the job to improve your mental health. 

For more guidance, the Sensa app can provide customized content according to your mental and physical goals. There are features like mood journaling, quick-relief exercises, daily motivation, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) lessons. 

Sensa Health
Your calm mind assistant
  • Lessons based on the CBT method
  • Mood journal
  • Challenges & self-improvement activities
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Sensa is all about making you feel better. Simple things, like practicing mindfulness in the morning, can help reduce work-related stress and anxiety. 

#5 Have boundaries

A narcissistic boss tends to micromanage people. This means they will constantly monitor your work, avoid delegating tasks, and ask for frequent updates. To stay happy in your job, it’s important to set boundaries that protect your mental health. 

You could take more time for yourself, openly communicate the boundaries, name your limits, and negotiate expectations. Remember to stay positive when communicating with your boss, as you don’t want to cause arguments or time-consuming debates. 

#6 Make yourself a strategy

Developing a strategy means you’re prepared to face their behaviors. One day, they might be angry with a client, which is a great time for offering consolidation. Staying in the boss’ good graces keeps everything fairly calm and straightforward at work. 

You essentially have to look out for the warning signs. A narcissist may never have the same mood for one day, so being aware of changes keeps you in the safe zone. Remember that being an ally isn’t bad, especially when it comes to protecting your health.

A Word From a Psychologist

Dealing with someone who is mentally draining can be tough. There may be times you want to walk out or show more power. However, to stop your mental health from deteriorating, it’s important to identify narcissistic behaviors when managing them.

You could go out for a morning walk or run before heading to work. Studies have proven that regular exercise clears the mind and reduces stress. Building healthy habits throughout each day can make managing your narcissist boss less challenging.

Just remember that your mental health comes first. Narcissistic bosses tend to drain positivity from the atmosphere, which could trigger anxiety or depression symptoms. To keep their behavior from affecting your personal life, consider seeking support. Also remember that narcissistic person can change.

Conclusion

So, is working with a narcissistic boss manageable? 

You can definitely deal with their personality traits while maintaining a healthy company culture. There’s no need to fight against their rules or personal beliefs. Co-workers may agree that respectfully existing with your boss prevents a draining toxic environment. 

The Sensa app is also there for support. Documenting your feelings in the mood journal should release any stress, anxiety, and frustration.

Sensa Health
Your calm mind assistant
  • Lessons based on the CBT method
  • Mood journal
  • Challenges & self-improvement activities
  • Quick relief function
  • Assessments to help you grow
Our rating:
4.5
Start Free Quiz Now
HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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