Narcissism in the Workplace

Narcissism in the Workplace

Research, Opinion and Practice

New Horizons in Management series

Andrew J. DuBrin

The author describes both the positive and negative features of narcissism and presents strategies and tactics for dealing constructively with narcissistic traits and behaviors in oneself and in others. Self-tests and questionnaires found throughout the volume enable readers to reflect on their standing on a variety of behaviors and attitudes associated with narcissism. Each chapter includes a section labeled ‘Guidelines for Application and Practice’ that provides practical advice for applying the research and theories presented within. Further, each chapter concludes with a case history of narcissism, accompanied by a brief analysis of the narcissistic aspects of the case’s subject.

Chapter 8: Dealing with the Narcissistic Manager

Andrew J. DuBrin

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour, politics and public policy, leadership


A majority of career-minded people face the challenge of developing a good working relationship with their manager. Good superior–subordinate relationships lead to positive outcomes including above-average performance evaluations, salary increases, bonuses, choice work assignments, and recommendations for promotion. In contrast, poor superior–subordinate relationships lead to negative outcomes including below-average performance evaluations, salary increases limited to a cost-of-living adjustment, the absence of performance bonuses, undesirable work assignments, and blocked promotions. When your immediate manager is strongly narcissistic, developing a positive relationship with him or her is all the more challenging. Despite the advice frequently offered about quitting your job when your boss is a narcissist, such behavior is usually self-defeating. You may not be able to find a better job or even another job in the time frame needed. Also, voluntarily terminating employment in most fields is hardly an asset to your career – especially if you quit without a replacement position. In this chapter we present information that should prove helpful in doing a professional job of dealing with a narcissistic manager. The topics include how coping tactics might vary in response to different types of narcissistic managers, the importance of using emotional intelligence to cope with the narcissistic boss, and how 360-degree feedback is useful in dealing with narcissistic managers. We also describe a handful of specific tactics for coping with the narcissistic manager. Appropriate Coping Tactics for Different Types of Narcissistic Managers Throughout this chapter we will describe tactics for dealing with narcissistic managers as if one...

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