How to spot if your boss is a narcissist – and why it might be bad for business


Do you know someone who is insensitive and whose name falls? Worse, is this person your boss?

These are two telltale signs that your boss might be a narcissist. And not only is having a narcissistic boss potentially bad for employees, but a new study shows it could also be bad for business: This type of boss can hinder communication and cooperation within organizations, according to Science Daily.

And yet, studies have shown that those who display narcissistic traits are more likely to be senior executives.

“These people believe they have superior confidence, intelligence, and judgment, and will seize any opportunity to bolster these inflated opinions about themselves and earn admiration,” Science Daily reported.

Because of this supposed superiority, they can impede the flow of information within organizations, according to a new study from the University of Washington published in the Strategic Management Journal.

Below are the red flags to look for.

If your boss is constantly naming and has a desk and office that is a temple to himself and his accomplishments, he might be narcissistic.
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They take all the credit

Narcissistic bosses tend to plunder ideas and steal credit.

“A toxic manager will always brag about their accomplishments and the power they have within the company. They always want to appear important in the eyes of others and take credit for the work done by top talent,” said Harriet Chan, co-founder and chief marketing officer of CocoFinder, to Forbes.

Or they reluctantly give you the glory of your work. “They act as if offering recognition would diminish the narcissist’s star power. When they give credit, it’s usually in the context of his brilliant leadership and advancing his ambitious agendas,” according to Psychology Today.

They love to name

These managers enjoy “constantly appearing important, with an inflated and exaggerated sense of themselves” by “having a habit of giving up their name and status”. Another way to identify them is how they adorn and decorate their offices and offices, which are often a temple to themselves and their accomplishments, Psychology Today noted.

They monopolize the attention

The way a boss acts in meetings, conferences, calls, and email is another signal that narcissists tend to get attention. Not only are they flagship pigs, but their overbearing behavior also prevents others from speaking up and sharing their knowledge.

“Narcissism affects people’s desire to be distinctive,” said Abhinav Gupta, co-author of the UW study and associate professor of management at the Foster School of Business.

“It’s correlated with people wanting fame for themselves. We hypothesized that business unit leaders who exhibit these characteristics would be the ones who say, ‘We don’t want to work with you.’ have enough skills, knowledge and abilities to work with independently This was very strongly confirmed based on our research design.

Two women stand with their arms crossed while one looks at the other.
Narcissistic bosses tend to loot and steal ideas and credit.
Getty Images

They are indifferent to subordinates

The needs of their employees are also under their concern, according to Psychology Today. “Whether you’re overworked with work issues, feeling sick, or just having a bad day, you’re basically treated with a ‘So what!? It’s not my problem – you take care of it.

They take advantage of employees

Then there is the “The Devil Wears Prada” position of servitude which, according to Psychology Today, includes having employees “run personal errands, undertake inappropriate tasks, work on pet projects, or take on a part of [the boss’] responsibilities, all without proper compensation or recognition.

Because they lack respect for others and their time, according to Forbes, they tend to be micro-managers. This can prevent “employees from working independently” and from “making independent decisions or thinking creatively”.

They like to shift the blame

Taking shortcuts and not following ethical standards may indicate that your direct supervisor might be a narcissist. They also can’t handle criticism or negative feedback and seek to blame others when things go wrong.

Tyler Garns, CEO of Box Out Marketing, told Forbes that due to the narcissist’s mindset of being the best, if “mistakes happen, it’s the team that’s incompetent.”

They throw tantrums

Finally, a boss who spits and spreads negative emotions, throws a tantrum, or is emotionally abusive can be another indication of a narcissist. Psychology Today noted that “by making you feel inferior, they bolster their fragile egos and feel better about themselves.”


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