Last week, I wrote provided 5 tips for working with an everyday narcissist, and this week, I finish up with another set of 5 straightforward suggestions. Most of us want drama-free workplaces, but find it challenging when a narcissist is involved. With some skillful attention, though, you can rise to the occasion.
Here are five additional ways to operate more effectively with a narcissist:
1. Focus on effectiveness for your own self at work.
Remember your big picture goals. When you are in calm state, devise strategies to maintain your calm when your buttons, inevitably, get pushed. Know that you have more emotional skills and it’s up to you to use them on your own behalf.
Resenting a narcissist for being the way she is won’t change a thing. It’s like resenting a houseplant for being a plant – it is what it is. You can learn to be effective, whereas a narcissist does not internalize emotional learning and is unlikely to change much.
2. Plan ahead for interactions, be prepared. Practice different approaches.
Once you understand the predictable behaviors of the narcissist at work, you can practice with a variety of ways of interacting. See what works best for you.
3. Apply these four words to your interactions with the Narcissist at the workplace: Effectiveness. Diplomacy. Compassion. Equanimity.
Effectiveness – be effective on your own behalf
Diplomacy – stay calm and thoughtful not triggered and mad
Compassion – a narcissist did not choose this way of being
Equanimity – emotions come and go, seek calm
4. Accept that certain elements of the narcissist’s being are the way they are and that they will not change.
Do not bother trying to change these the behaviors that arise as a result of the narcissist’s non-conscious framework. A narcissist is unaware of the effect they have on others.
Hoping for change is not a great use of your energy. It denies the reality of the situation and keeps you from developing effective interaction skills.
5. Have low expectations regarding a narcissist’s people skills.
Management remedies that include vague “improve people skills” goals will not make a difference. A narcissist relies on an internalized set of social rules to navigate the world. If the behaviors a narcissist uses are ill matched to your work culture, then you can provide the narcissist clarity about how to behave otherwise in order to gain the positive attention he seeks. A narcissist needs to be told exactly what is expected, and the consequences of not meeting expectations. Consequences must be employed directly and consistently until a narcissist learns new ways of interacting.
The more you tap into the power of “effective pro-active relief” behaviors, the less you will fall for the invitation to drama, and the more you will feel at ease in your workplace.