The Job Benefits of the Right Kind of Narcissism

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Posted by The Editors on January 26, 2012
The Job Benefits of the Right Kind of Narcissism

Have you ever come across a narcissist in college or around the office? Most likely you’ve met and interacted with quite a few. According to dictionary.com, a narcissist is a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish. 

Ever work with a person on a project and end up left in the dark due to his unreliability or over-controlling tendencies to be the point man? Yup, those are characteristics of your typical narcissist. This person could be in the next cubicle over and may be experiencing added benefits that the average empathetic worker may not.

I recently read the article, The Healthy Side of Narcissism, which makes the assertion that “A moderate amount of the right kind of narcissism can actually be beneficial to well-being.” The official term is called adaptive narcissism and people who fit into this category are known to be self-sufficient, succeed in leadership positions, and are better able to cope in social situations.

Because of these certain characteristics, the article argues that during school and work situations, this kind of person would be a great addition to team projects. So if you know you’re not one of these adaptive narcissist types, the article provides tips to strengthen such traits.

1. Build up some healthy narcissism to protect your own health. Without becoming overly preoccupied with your appearance, include control over your diet and exercise habits in your daily life.

2. Find the right balance between assertiveness and reticence in leadership situations. If you're a natural leader, you'll be likely to try to assume a position of control when no one else seems to be ready to take charge. As long as you're sure you're not crowding others out, go for it. But if you're constantly taking over for your fellow co-workers or students, it might be time to take a step back instead of forward.

3. Turn up your empathy detector. People high in narcissism are less likely to sense what other people are feeling because they are more tuned into their own emotions.  Even if you've got a good dose of the healthy kind of narcissism, you should watch out for your own blind spots.

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