7 science-backed signs you work for a narcissist
The psychology research suggests that you're more likely to find a narcissist in the corner office than just about anywhere else.
As psychoanalyst leadership expert Michael Maccoby has argued, that's because narcissists often thrive in leadership roles, since so-called "productive narcissists" are super comfortable with risk and charming enough to get people's backing for their ideas.
"Narcissists have always emerged to inspire people and to shape the future," Maccoby wrote for Harvard Business Review. "Consider how an executive at Oracle describes his narcissistic CEO Larry Ellison: 'The difference between God and Larry is that God does not believe he is Larry.'"
But the problem, of course, is that narcissists are typically out for themselves, ready to cut down anybody who challenges them and taking credit for other people's work.
Here are seven signs you may be working for a narcissist.
They really, really love being in control.
Narcissists typically enjoy leadership positions since they are able to dominate others and fulfill their need for constant positive reinforcement.
They thrive in "leadership situations where they can dazzle and dominate others without having to cooperate or suffer the consequences of a bad reputation," psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman wrote at Psychology Today.
They hate emotions.
The "very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure," says Harvard Medical School psychologist Craig Malkin.
That's why narcissists abhor them.
Feeling an emotion "challenges their sense of perfect autonomy," he continues. "To admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them."
As a result, narcissists tend to change the topic of conversation when feelings come up — especially their own.
They are young and male.
After 34,653 face-to-face interviews, psychologist Frederick Stinson found that men tend to be more narcissistic than women across their lifespans.
Narcissism is believed to peak during adolescence and decline with age.
They dress better than everybody else.
Narcissists are generally rated as more stylish and physically attractive, according to a study conducted by Simine Vazire, a psychologist at Washington University.
They swear all the time.
Psychologists Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube from Washington University in St. Louis found in a study that subjects who scored higher in narcissism are argumentative and curse more than their modest counterparts.
They also tend to use more sexually explicit language.
Instead of listening, they just wait to speak.
Anita Vangelisti, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin found that narcissists typically prefer to keep the conversation centered around themselves "making exaggerated hand movements, talking loudly, and showing disinterest by 'glazing over' when others speak."
They like to put people down.
Narcissistic people intentionally put down others in order to maintain a high positive image of themselves.
"Seeking admiration is like a drug for narcissists," said Mitja D. Back, a psychologist at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. "In the long run it becomes difficult because others won't applaud them, so they always have to search for new acquaintances from whom they get the next fix."
Needless to say, serious control issues and the need to build themselves up at the expense of others may not make for the ideal manager.
Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
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