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Working with the Narcissist

The noun narcissist refers to someone intensely concerned with only his or her own self or interests and who seems to forget that others exist.

The noun narcissist today means someone only concerned with his or her own interests or predicament and its origin is from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a hunter who was exceptionally beautiful and also just as proud of his looks, ignoring other people around him. He was punished by the gods by falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Not realizing it was himself he loved, he eventually died from unrequited love.

The narcissist manages emotion through emotional dis-control. That is, they take their emotional needs and externalise them, and express them in a way that seeks gratification from others. 

They have an arrogant style, fueled by exaggerated self-importance, and a need for constant admiration. They can be an exhibitionist who enjoys attention. Their behaviour is elevated, inflated and grandiose, often protecting a fragile ego. Self-importance and exaggerating their achievements are common traits, alongside, entitlement, associating with people of high status, and constant name-dropping. They often like the sound of their own voice, and dismiss others. They lack self-awareness. They will often talk only about themselves.

The Narcissist will also tend to overstate their confidence because they don’t want to be exposed. They over-endorse their own competence. Their optimism is, however, generally positive. They can lift morale and create a sense of vision. They can tend to be extroverts. They enjoy interpersonal relationships, so long as people act as a mirror of their own admiration. 

Narcissistic traits can be developed in an environment where someone has been overly lauded for their achievements. They are placed on a pedestal for their achievements, as opposed to who they are as a human. They are often hiding low self-confidence. They place a protective bubble around themselves. Narcissism can tend to have a fantasy quality about it. This sees them often taking risks and making errors of judgement. They have a fear of being shamed or exposed. People can often see straight through this.

So how do we respond to narcissist behaviours?

  • Listen, be attentive, but avoid special treatment
  • Keep your responses neutral
  • Never argue
  • Don’t share anything personal
  • Don’t ask for advice
  • Provide enough positive support with a degree of indifference
  • Explain how what you’re doing will benefit them

Go well this week.


Middle Leader Coaching and Mentoring

Are you a leader of an organisation or school who is intent on growing your middle leaders, but not quite sure how?

Are you spending time mentoring and coaching them on-the-hop and feel you could be supporting them better?

Maybe with the best of intent, you place them on a one-day course, but these are like a drop in the ocean; they provide some tools, but once back in the face of work, their use can fall-over. This leaves them feeling frustrated and confused, and can sometimes make an even bigger problem for you to deal with, and will eat into your already precious time.

More details here


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