Tag Archives: work

How to Talk to your Narcissistic Boss

Handsome narcissistic young man looking in a mirrorAfter years of speculation, you have finally come to the realization that your boss is a narcissist.  Since this is not the type of economy where you can just leave your job and expect to get another one quickly, you find yourself stuck and miserable in a job that normally you would like except for your narcissistic boss.  In the beginning everything was great.  Your boss seemed to like you and you liked him/her despite the previous dozen or so former employees who left rather abruptly.  Then one day everything changed, as if a switch just flicked without your knowledge and you went from the best employee ever to the most incompetent human alive.

But you are stuck and despite the numerous attempts to flick the switch back the other way, it’s not budging.  Every day now begins with several duck and cover attempts as you dodge the verbal bullets assaults of your boss until one day when you have no option but to confront.  Finally, the issues on your desk have built up to an unbearable level and something has to give as there is no more time. While you know you need to confront your boss, you must do it in a way that doesn’t cost your job in the process.  So how do you do it?  Try a few of these suggestions.

Use the Hamburger method.  Think for a moment about a McDonald’s hamburger, would you ever eat the meat without the bun?  No, the meat is terrible without the bun.  Well for just about anyone, but a narcissist in particular, delivering bad news is the meat of the matter and without a bun it is likely to be spit right back out at you.  So, create a bun of praise around the meat.  Since a narcissist loves himself/herself, try praising your boss first, then follow it with the meat of the matter, and end it with yet another personal or professional praise.

Use it only once.  You are going to be shocked at how well this will work and be very tempted to repeat this for the dozen or so other meats but watch out.  Your narcissist boss will likely catch on and become even angrier thinking that you are manipulating him/her.  So when you do this, do it once per conversation, and never twice in the same day.

Pick your meat carefully.  If possible, prioritize the meat that needs to be confronted and do the most burning issues first, then follow it with the ones for greater long-term impact and end with the other not so important short-term issues that may just go away on their own.  Whenever possible, overlook meat so your confrontations are not frequent but don’t be irresponsible about the meat.  Some meat must be dealt with however insignificant it may seem.

When in danger…If the confrontation begins to take a bad turn, don’t defend yourself.  Never ever give ground to a narcissist unless you are willing to give that ground permanently.  Instead repeat back part of what your boss is saying, not too much to be obnoxious, but just enough to let him/her know you heard what he/she said even if this includes something negative about you.  That action alone, without your overreaction will be enough to take the wind out of his/her sails.

No emotion.  The thing about a narcissist is that he/she has no empathy of anyone else except himself/herself, so don’t waste your time getting upset or teary eyed.  The quickest way for a narcissist to stop being angry is for you to have no emotion whatsoever.  When you show emotion, he/she believes you have lost and treats you like prey instead of treating you with compassion.  When you don’t show emotion, your narcissistic boss will try another tactic such as changing the subject to try again to get the upper hand.

Don’t give ground, stand still, and stand strong and your narcissistic boss will likely soften around you instead of attacking the next time.  Just remember that a narcissistic boss is common and even if you left your current position, you are likely to find another one lurking behind some corner.  So stop fighting and learn how to talk to a narcissistic boss instead of running from them.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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How to Write an Effective Email at Work When You are Angry

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of PaperThere is no doubt you have seen a few poorly written emails from an angry person that resembles verbal vomit.  And while you might even understand their frustration, you in no way want to come across quite as gross.  Instead you wish there was a way of communicating your anger that gets results without a trace of verbal vomit.  There is.

It is as simple as a fast-food hamburger.  Take a moment and think of a fast-food place that has a hamburger with meat in the middle and a bun on the top and bottom.  Most likely you will not take the bun off the hamburger meat and eat just the meat.  Why? Because the meat tastes gross (think fast-food, not the good kind of burger), that is why it has the bun to make it more palatable.  In fact some buns have even have sugar on them to improve the flavor.

Top Bun.  The top bun is the fluffy part and is the best place to start.  Begin your email with a compliment of sorts such as, “Thank you for your trust in my ability to handle more work.”  The compliment does not need to be long, just honest.  In the moment of your anger, this might be the hardest part of your email to write but if you can put aside your anger for a few minutes, more than likely you will come up with one compliment.  Don’t be sarcastic; sarcasm is suppressed anger and is not effective in the workplace.

Meat in the Middle.  The meat in the middle is the issue you need to address.  Your next sentence is the bottom line you need to communicate. “I will not be able to complete the project you just handed me because my workload is too large.”  Resist the urge to over explain or to address more than one “meat” instead keep it simple and to the point remembering to state the facts.  Don’t add any emotion to the meat as it will come off sounding like you are whining.  This statement might require several revisions before you can accurately communicate the bottom line without any fluff, but it is worth the effort.

Bottom Bun.  The bottom bun is another compliment that ties everything together.  “I’m sure we can work towards a solution that works for both of us.”  This bun is meant to be the base of the whole matter much like the bottom bun holds up the entire hamburger.  Finding a way to work together is at the heart of the matter and from this the other two parts are effectively supported.

This same method can be used to communicate with your spouse, your child’s teacher, your client or anyone who might cause you some frustration.  Not only does it work well in emails, it is equally effective verbally.  And hopefully you will never look at a fast-food hamburger the same way again.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

7 Ways to Be Different at Work Instead of Just Another Jerk

jerksIt’s easy to be a jerk at work.  When something doesn’t get done the way it should because it’s late, incomplete, or missing essential details, it’s easy to get upset and fly off the handle.  After all, you have invested your valuable time, energy and effort only to be left with substandard work from your co-workers.  It’s not right, it’s not fair, and you are entitled to be frustrated.

So you become more jerky with each disappointment only to wake up one day and realize that you have become something you don’t really like.  There is a better way to handle things at work that can produce excellent results without compromising your standards.

Be Patient.  Promotions, projects, and promises don’t happen overnight so be patient for your opportunities to shine.  Don’t be so eager to do everything that you miss the chance to do one thing exceptionally well.

Be Kind.  Too often kindness is reserved only for clients and not for co-workers or vendors.  Kindness is a lost art form in our culture and therefore is a noticeable commodity in your workplace.  Showing kindness to those around you requires little effort but reaps great rewards.

Don’t Boast.  Tooting your own horn might get you noticed quickly but it is short-lived and builds resentment from your co-workers.  Rather seek opportunities to compliment others and boast your co-workers instead of tearing them down.

Be Negotiable.  If you constantly insist on getting your way, you will wear out your co-workers and they will be less likely to bring new and valuable ideas to the table.  Listen to the ideas of others and find ways to incorporate them into your ideas.  Too heads are truly better than one.

Be Even-tempered.  Consistency in your attitude and behavior is an asset.  If your clients can expect a smile and warm greeting despite any frustrations then it will be easier to negotiate any deal.  Your co-workers likewise should be able to count on a similar attitude and behavior.

Don’t Give Up.  The toughest of circumstances can be only be resolved with a never give up attitude.  This does not mean that you don’t choose to walk away from a bad deal or an unproductive co-worker but it does mean that you don’t give up on making new deals or training new employees.

Be Hopeful.  It might be hard to be hopeful when difficult situations at your office seem to stay the same or even get worse.  Being hopeful might even seem like you are being unrealistic however if you plan for the worst and hope for the best your attitude will be infectious and could just be the spark that is needed in your office.

Each of these is not a one-time fix; rather it requires you to consistently practice each one.  You may need to pick one idea a week and try it on before moving on to the next idea instead of trying to do everything all at once.  This will allow the change to be more permanent and in the end you will return back to the person that you want to be instead of the jerk that you became.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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