How many of you have worked for a narcissist? Let's start with a definition of what that is to level set the rest of this post:
Narcissist (närsəsəst) - a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.
I think smart professionals go through stages related to how they deal with narcissists as their manager:
1--They're shocked at the selfish behavior and general pathology of the individual.
2--They get sad about it and disengage a bit.
3--They get smart and start using with drives the narcissist to get #### done.
Know any narcissists in the news these days? Regardless of your politics, you have to admit that Donald Trump is a bit of a narcissist. Note that this isn't a political post, so both sides shouldn't blast me via email.
The recent summit with North Korea gives us a perfect glimpse of how to deal with your manager - if he or she is a narcissist. More from the Chicago Tribune:
"Some of the most intense drama surrounding President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came not across the negotiating table, but in the days and hours leading up to Tuesday's historic meeting - a behind-the-scenes flurry of commotion prompted by Trump himself.
After arriving in Singapore on Sunday, an antsy and bored Trump urged his aides to demand that the meeting with Kim be pushed up by a day - to Monday - and had to be talked out of altering the long-planned and carefully negotiated summit date on the fly, according to two people familiar with preparations for the event.
Ultimately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders persuaded Trump to stick with the original plan, arguing that the president and his team could use the time to prepare, people familiar with the talks said. They also warned him that he might sacrifice wall-to-wall television coverage of his summit if he abruptly moved the long-planned date to Monday in Singapore, which would be Sunday night in the United States."
You can hate Trump and his team if you want to. I'm going to zig while others zag and try to learn something from his staff. Pompeo and Sanders wrote a playbook for you related to how to deal with a narcissist as your manager.
TL:DR - The best way to deal with a narcissist with an unreasonable demand is to tell him/her they won't get enough credit or attention if they don't follow your advice.
More notes on the best way to use this strategy with a Narcissist:
1--Everything should be presented as if you are their agent. Make it about their needs, not yours.
2--Focus on the Narcissist getting credit for the decision, even if you will share in those accolades. Don't tell the narcissist anything about how you benefit.
3--Focus on the Narcissist getting greater amounts of attention. Similar to #2, but it's not credit. It's attention, which is subjective, but the narcissist loves it. ("Don - let's make sure you get a bit of face time with Kim, because he's going to love you and once he meets you, things will just be better for us.")
4--When in doubt, go to the senior level of this play - Frame everything as if you are preventing them from taking reputational damage. ("Rick, people are going to blame you for this instead of loving you, and I've got a better plan that gets us what we need and makes people love you for it.")
When dealing with a narcissist, the smart professional goes through the stages I outlined, then sucks it up and plays the game to get what they- and the organization - needs from the narcissist.
Good luck dealing with your narcissist. Take on the role of being their agent and it will go as well as it can. Try not to vomit in your mouth as you do what's required.