Although narcissistic people tend to be highly ambitious and have great drive for work, they can be overbearing especially if given leadership positions. Such traits in a colleague can make it difficult for you to be able to work efficiently and may constantly put you in conflict with them. You should develop a strategy of diplomacy in order to work with self-absorbed individuals so that you do not jeopardize your professional relationship.
Lower You Expectations
Narcissists tend to be oblivious to the contribution of other people in the workplace; therefore, do not take it too personally if they fail to recognize the good quality of your work or acknowledge your input. Make sure you document instances where you have made significant contributions and send it to superiors if necessary so that your efforts are commended accordingly.
Minimize Direct Interaction
Self-centered people can get on your nerves, but you should not damage your working relationship by getting into unnecessary confrontations with them. Only maintain a professional relationship. Whether you are giving them praise or criticism, maintain a neutral tone because narcissistic individuals tend to be emotionally unstable. Conducting communication in this manner reduces the chances of you being a target of what is known as ‘narcissism rage’.
Appeal to their Self-Interest
If caught in a power struggle with a narcissistic person, you should be aware that more often than not, fate will favour them. Instead of working against them, try aligning your ideas with their goals to show that you are keenly interested in achieving results for them. Such a tactic could get you in their good books and will definitely make working with them much easier, therefore, achieving mutual goals.
Assert Your Independence
Narcissistic individuals have a tendency to make those around them a crutch for their needs. You have to realize that even in a group situation that you are still an individual. You should be able to hold your own opinions and should not let yourself be intimidated by their behavior. Your self-absorbed colleague will disengage from you easily if you show such spirit in your work ethic.
Continue to Work Efficiently
Even if you do not receive due credit from a narcissistic colleague or boss, it should not stop you from performing your duties as expected. You should continue to undertake and complete all your assignments as required as this also reduces any chance of confrontation with your colleagues and superiors.
Always have a support system in the form of fellow workmates or the Human Resource department if the behavior of your colleague is greatly impeding your ability to work. You could consider transferring to another department if the individual persists in their habits, to avoid adverse negative effects to your professional and personal life. Nevertheless, most narcissists exhibit such behavior due to inner feelings such as low self-esteem and insecurity, so it is necessary for you to be as supportive as possible when working. Although it may take great sacrifice on your part, it will be rewarding in the end.