The office narcissist: how to spot (and deal with) them

When the attitudes and behaviour that reflect a grandiose sense of importance occur in a consistent and enduring pattern, it’s a diagnosable disorder known as narcissistic personality disorder, which affects about 1 per cent of the population

But most people have a degree of narcissistic traits, according to Dr King.

He said narcissism was a spectrum and how it was expressed differed according to the individual.

He listed business, law, politics and media as the professions most likely to attract narcissists.

“The person with narcissism is going to be directed towards [careers] where there is going to be admiration, fame, wealth [and] success,” Dr King said.

“[They think] ‘why would I just want to achieve mediocrity?’

“This is also true for CEOs and managers who are high in narcissism, [which has been] linked with CEO fraud in the US.

“It’s a high-stakes thing. They believe they have better judgement so they will take these risks and then it can blow up.”

“I’ve moved home to a small country town and narcissists have stacked the local committees. Their abilities are very over-estimated, they do not share information, they bully anyone who doesn’t support them. The result is they deter others from participating and it leads to negative dysfunctional communities [that] blame government for [a] range of issues like youth leaving and ice.” — Mary

“Underneath the narcissism is a person of low self-esteem. The only reason we criticise or put others down is to make ourselves feel better.” — Glenda

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