Written by Geraldine Muteka


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12 Jul, 2022

In our workplaces, we encounter different behaviours as we engage with ourselves and with others. Some behaviours will contribute to our growth, where others will limit our growth.

Narcissistic behaviour is one of those that tends to limit or (even worse, completely stunt!) our growth and diminish our sense of worth in the workplace. We recognise that only a trained professional can diagnose someone as suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We further recognise that when we put labels on people, such as “he/she is a narcissist”, it does not necessarily aid in our growth and healing.  

Our goal is to create awareness through identifying the behavioural patterns associated with narcissism.  

When a fellow employee displays the following behaviours on a consistent basis, we can consider these as narcissistic behaviours (please note, this list is not exhaustive):

      Interrupting conversations

      Belittling others in speech and in actions

  Telling exaggerated stories of how they succeeded in a task

  Taking full credit for tasks he/she did not complete or contributed to as a team member

    Strong reactions to correction from others and putting the blame on others for their mistakes

      Unable to build relationships with others because he/she expect others carry out work for them, without contributing to the tasks/goals of others

    Spreading negative information about others, while often presenting themselves as the hero or victim 

    Unable to relate to the situations others may find themselves in (lack of empathy)

    Break rules and expecting preferential treatment

      Seeking public admiration from others 

If you look at this list and are getting worried because you recognise yourself in some of these behaviours, it simply shows that you have a good sense of self-awareness. All of us at some time will display some of these behaviors, the difference and danger lie in behaving so consistently. 

What can you do if you are currently in a workplace where these behaviours are present? There is unfortunately no one size fits all solution. 

Your holistic (emotional, physical, and mental) safety should be the priority, and this may look different for different people. Some of you may need to look for other employment, others could possibly put healthy boundaries in place whilst staying at the workplace, while others may need to report the matter to the relevant authorities and request temporary or permanent changes in work placement. 

All of this starts with recognising that when people treat you this way, it is not a reflection of who you are, and it is not your fault. 

An interesting side note is that narcissistic behaviour arises rom insecurity and not from over-confidence although it may present to us in that way.

Stay committed to your growth and healing.

Till the next post.


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