CEO is the top career position of Narcopaths. It is understandable that in order to get to the positions they have, narcopaths have trodden on many a co-worker in the process. Moreover, it is spectacularly difficult to spot in the workplace
Why is pathological narcissism so difficult to spot in the workplace? There are a number of factors that include:
- Workplaces can be relatively cutthroat anyway;
- The revolving doors nature of employment means that often co-workers are sufficiently exposed to the abuse over a long period to of time to spot the subtle red flags;
- Many corporate ethos’s champion many of the qualities of narcissists (determination, risk-taking, greed etc) without paying due attention to the dangers of these and other traits
Why would a Narcopath be out to destroy you?
Their impact can nevertheless kill careers – or at the very least, kill your enthusiasm for your career. The reasons why a Narcopath would do this are varied:
- To get ahead themselves – you may be a direct threat to their success.
- For the thrill of the drama they cause, because they feed of this negative supply and delight in someone’s situation maybe worse than theirs.
- For thrill of the control.
- It fuels their sense of superiority if they can trip you up or limit your potential.
Narcopath’s Tactics of Destruction
A narcopath may carry out a campaign, either overtly or covertly, in a number of ways:
- Sabotaging your reputation, with managers, co-workers, subordinates, clients, investors etc
- Sidelining you – making you irrelevant in: projects; corporate direction and strategy; in teams, or amongst your peers and friends.
- Blocking your promotions or otherwise limiting your promotion prospects.
- Setup-to-fail tactics, whereby you are given a challenge that from the outset is doomed to fail (not least because the narcopath are doing their utmost to spoil its success).
- Framing you for failures and upsets, whether there is anything justifiable in what you have done or whether they have had to invent reasons.
- Hampering your personal development.
- Getting you the sack.
Covert vs Overt Campaigns
Usually they will do all they can covertly so as to ensure its success without implicating themselves. If they think that they can get away with it, however, it may be overt – they want to know that you know that they are abusing you – this gives them a false, but neverthess intoxicating, sense of power and control.
Each situation is different and you will need to tailor your strategy to your own situation. My advice would be to consider the following for your arsenal, either in isolation or concert:
- Avoiding – easy to say, rarely easy to execute – but if you can avoid them with a policy of No Contact, so much the better. This may even warrant changing jobs and employers completely. It sounds overly dramatic – but it could well be the lesser of all evils.
- Raise the issue directly with your manager – but be VERY wary of this, as there is a very good chance that your abuser has already aimed off for this eventuality and started the smear campaign against you a long time ago.
- Raise awareness of NPD amongst your team, and possibly implicate your abuser as a possible narcopath. If the whole team is affected, and everyone point is the finger at the narcopath, you stand a chance that they will be the one excluded (whether sidelined, moved or sacked) and not yourself. But again, be very careful indeed that this doesn’t backfire on you. Can you do all of this anonymously? Be careful around the fine line between expressing an opinion and making an accusation. Try to raise leading questions that cause others to do the same in a pyramid fashion rather than being seen to point accusatory fingers yourself.
- Persuade the narcopath to leave themselves. Perhaps not as crazy as it may sound. Lean on the fact that the narcopath has an unfeasibly high opinion of themselves and is greedy. If they were to get wind of a bigger better opportunity elsewhere, they may be minded to grab it.
As Managers, for additional useful insight into the Narcopath in the workplace.