5 Habits of highly narcissist managers

Narcissist [thesaurus] – concerned only with oneself.

Of course, there are more definitions and explanations in thesaurus to explain the word better, but let’s stick to the main definition for now.

Despite so many materials available in so many different forms, I’m really not sure why many managers can’t even pretend they are not narcissists. We always come across one manager in even a 50 member “organization” who thinks his/her word is final and no one “below” them can have any opinions that differ it. Well, more on why managers feel the need to fuel their own glorified ego’s on a daily basis in a later post, but the below are some of the habits I’ve seen many managers display consistently that earns them the right to be labeled “narcissists”, and with all due respects, I’ve probably had some of these and maybe still have some too.

There is an opinion they have formed, and that is non-negotiable – And we can only fuel it, not differ from it. I once worked with manager (peer thankfully) who carried opinions of people for more than 3 years, same opinion from the time the people joined as trainees to the time they moved on to become reviewers of others work. Sometimes, they even damn hard, real and objective results against the same.

Damn results, proximity matters – Many times, narcissist managers tend to overlook results to ensure the safety net of people in their close proximity. This happens mainly when they want to build a yes men team who would not get any smarter than them and would not be a threat to their own positions.

They generally point upwards – When managers more often tell you that something has come from upwards and we need to follow it, be rest assured that they are hinting that’s what they want you to do as well, follow their instructions since anyway it has come down the hierarchy.

Indicative behavior matters the most – Mainly the ones that satisfies their own positions in their own world. For example, do you come before them and leave after them? Do you respect them by not sitting in front of them? Do you hide your face when you meet them at the hallway to show that you are not yet prepared to meet them eye-eye? Are you sure you address them “properly” in mails?

Appreciations are hard to come by, but reprimands flow freely – Some people can hide this trait under the guise of being tough masters with sky-high expectations. Nothing wrong with that, but just that these expectations are never documented or presented to the concerned people, making them hit targets that was not shown in the first place.

So what do you think? Am I missing more from the list? Or have corporate managers really taken a turn for good and these need not apply anymore?


3 Responses to 5 Habits of highly narcissist managers

  1. Tuhin Sarkar says:

    Brilliant 🙂 Very well written and explained!

  2. Lakshman says:

    Thanks Tuhin…

  3. Thanks for a very insightful behavior study Lakshman.
    I’d like to add two more things if I may:

    1. Ordering people around, without prior notice and out of the blue, on a ‘Right Now!’ or ‘I want it Right Now!’ basis.

    2. Expecting team-members to sacrifice personal/family lives/exigencies/restrictions/responsibilities for career, just because they themselves had made careers out of doing so, and simply to get more business out of it.

    In my opinion, employees should have a chronic sense of responsibility towards work. The responsibility is to deliver quality on/before time. It is why we are paid and it is how we support ourselves the ones who matter to us.

    Many individuals work for themselves alone. Many however, work secondarily because they love to, and primarily to sustain those closest to them. If the latter section were expected to sacrifice what propels them toward productivity, then work for them, would lose its purpose.

    Just a notion of an employee from the latter section – I love work, but I work for home.

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