Signs You May Have a Narcissistic Boss


Most managers are under pressure from above to do a great job, get the numbers, reach goals, and get as much production as they can from their direct reports, but if your boss belittles, demeans, humiliates you, ignores your ideas, or worse yet, claims your ideas as their own, you may well be dealing with a narcissistic boss. Other signs may include, not having respect for others or their boundaries, not being able to take criticism, and showing no empathy.


A boss who bullies employees feeds off control. They love to control your every move, giving you just enough information to do your job but not allowing you autonomy. While micro-managing and being controlling ensures that they monitor your every move, and keep you in fear, ultimately it is not effective, as most employees will move on. Turnover will increase, leaving those left behind demoralized, and the company will gain a reputation for not being a good place to work.


Once a narcissistic boss realizes that you aren't going to allow them to bully you, be aware of possible retaliation. If your boss significantly increases or reduces your work load, pulls you from a lead project, or sets unrealistic expectations, setting you up for failure, it is likely he/she is retaliating against you.


Another sign of a narcissistic boss is when he/she thinks they are superior to everyone else. They have a sense of grandeur, thinking that their status precludes them from any repercussions for any bad behavior. Often times, male narcissistic bosses have misogynistic tendencies too. They will often retaliate against a female employee who stands up for herself by labeling her as outspoken or insubordinate. No matter how hard she works she will never receive the deserved promotion, and is likely to be paid less than her male counterpart in the same role.


Narcissistic bosses also have no respect for others' time. They are notorious for cancelling and rescheduling meetings, expecting other staff members to be available at their beck and call. They are often late or don't show up for meetings, leaving employees hanging or having to explain and make excuses for their absence, oblivious to the effect it has on their employees. Aside from being unprofessional and rude, it negatively impacts their team.