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Mastering the Art of Managing Narcissists in the Workplace: Effective Strategies for Success



Managing a narcissist at work can be challenging, as they often have a strong need for admiration, lack empathy, and prioritize their own interests. However, there are strategies you can employ to effectively manage such individuals. Here are some tips:

  1. Understand narcissistic behavior: Educate yourself about narcissism and how it manifests in the workplace. Understanding their traits and tendencies will help you anticipate their actions and reactions.

  2. Maintain professional boundaries: Set clear boundaries and adhere to them consistently. Narcissists may try to exploit or manipulate others, so it's important to establish and enforce your own limits.

  3. Focus on facts and evidence: When dealing with a narcissist, it's helpful to rely on objective facts and evidence. Present your ideas or proposals with solid data to support your arguments. This approach may minimize their ability to dismiss your input.

  4. Stay calm and composed: Narcissists thrive on attention and drama. Avoid engaging in power struggles or emotional conflicts. Maintain your composure and remain calm, as this will make it harder for them to provoke you.

  5. Be assertive and confident: Assertiveness is crucial when dealing with a narcissist. Clearly communicate your expectations, boundaries, and concerns, and do so with confidence. Stand your ground while remaining professional and respectful.

  6. Document interactions: Keep a record of your interactions with the narcissist, including any problematic behaviours, inappropriate comments, or instances of manipulation. This documentation can be useful if you need to report their behaviour to a supervisor or HR department.

  7. Build a support network: Connect with colleagues who are also dealing with the narcissist, or seek advice from trusted mentors or supervisors. Sharing your experiences and seeking support can help you navigate the situation more effectively.

  8. Don't take it personally: Remember that the narcissist's behaviour is not a reflection of your worth or abilities. They often manipulate and exploit others to bolster their own self-esteem. Maintain your self-confidence and self-worth, and don't let their actions undermine your professional growth.

  9. Seek guidance from supervisors or HR: If the narcissist's behaviour becomes unmanageable or significantly affects your work environment, consult with your supervisor or the human resources department. Provide them with clear examples and evidence of the narcissist's behaviour and explain how it impacts your work and the overall team dynamics.

  10. Consider professional assistance: If the situation becomes unbearable or abusive, you may want to consult a professional counsellor or therapist who can provide guidance and support in dealing with workplace issues.

Remember, managing a narcissist can be challenging, but by implementing these strategies, you can minimize their impact on your work life and maintain your own well-being.


Addressing issues around challenging behaviour at work proactively when they occur and not letting them fester in one of the key topics my co-author Ken Cameron and I talk about in our 5 Star Amazon book 'I Need To F***ing Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'


You can now order copies of our book here.

"Sometimes conversations suck, but you need to have them, and this book lays out how. Russell and Ken have put together and road-tested simple, up-front, and thoughtful approaches to awkward and difficult workplace conversations."

Andrew Phung, CBC's Kim's Convenience



To find some great tips on how to structure difficult workplace conversations why not check out this previous blog post 'Use the B.E.E.F Model to Correct Employee Behaviour'


Or check out our online course



In conclusion, dealing with difficult personalities can be a challenging task, but it is possible to manage and even thrive in a work environment with difficult personalities. By understanding the behavior, setting clear boundaries, focusing on what you can control, using active listening skills and taking care of yourself, you can create a more positive and productive work environment for yourself and your team.


I hope you found this blog useful. As you continue your leadership journey, don't forget that here at Bluegem Learning we are always here to assist you.



If you'd like to hear more from business leaders about handing difficult workplace conversations, check out our podcast here, new episodes bi-weekly ...


Well that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the blog and I'll be back soon with more, until then ... be a leader not just a boss!



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