A survey completed by University of Newcastle psychology department identified that narcissistic tendencies are common in difficult employees. The good news are there are specific strategies you can employ to deal with these people.
I recently participated in a survey conducted by Louise Houlcroft of the University of Newcastle about difficult employees at work.
Louise was able to identify that there are two main types of difficult people in the workplace - narcissists and non-narcissists.
Narcissists are characterised by 'unrealistically grandiose and inflated self-representation....(and) are egocentric, self-serving and unempathetic.' Narcissists sub-types include: Arrogant narcissists; Shy narcissists; and, Psychopathic narcissists.
Non-narcissistic who are difficult employees are characterised as employees experiencing personal problems, having poor interpersonal skills, are inflexible, lazy, unmotivated or dissatisfied.
The research concentrates on strategies to deal with the narcissists in the workplace and specifically outlines what we all instinctively know about these people. They place their own interests before getting along with others, they don't care about others wellbeing and are unlikely to go out of their way for others and are emotionally reactive meaning they don't always think clearly or operate effectively. Not much of a team player then!
Louise Houlcroft outlines that it is important to understand that behind these narcissistic traits lies feelings of vulnerability and inferiority. The narcissist employs their behaviours as a defence against perceived threats to their tenuous self-worth. Therefore, any strategy to manage their behaviour is more likely to succeed if their self-representations (whether actual or perceived) are not threatened.
Louise outlines four strategies to tackle the narcissist's difficult behaviours:
If you are having to manage a narcissist or are managed by a narcissist work can become difficult and unpleasant. If you would like discuss the above strategies and would like assistance to implement them I can help.
Alison Walter offers Career Coaching in Newcastle and the Hunter. Give me a call on 0400 429 811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you manage difficult people in the workplace.
The research was:
The 'Difficult employees: Perceptions from co-workers' survey conducted by Louise Houlcroft from the University of Newcastle, Australia. You can access information about the research via Louise's Linkedin profile: