Bright Consulting
146 Reserve Ave
Oberlin, OH 44074
P: (440) 864.0634
Bright Consulting
146 Reserve Ave, Oberlin, OH 44074 P: (440) 864.0634

Narcissism in the Age of Emotional Intelligence

We are experiencing an organizational awakening.  In an effort to enhance organizational culture through self awareness and self-management strategies, relationships are being strengthened in organizations. We are experiencing a cultural shift that values accountability of behavior. And, although we are a long way from claiming success, it is apparent that our sensitivities — and the “bar”. — have been raised.

Curiously, my awareness of a parallel behavior — narcissistic behavior in the workplace — has been heightened. The cause of this awareness is unknown to me. Perhaps narcissistic behavior has been on the rise in human behavior. Perhaps it has become more obvious against the backdrop effort of enhance emotional intelligence.

In his book, “Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success”, Chip Conley gives us some insight into this condition:

Narcissism = (Self Esteem)2 X Entitlement

Chip Conley writes that “Narcissism isn’t an emotion, but it is a condition – like workaholism – that stands at the intersection of many other emotions, some well-regarded (confidence and magnetic optimism) and some derided (vanity and aggressiveness).

Common qualities and emotions of narcissists:

  • Obviously self-focused in interpersonal exchanges (they can’t stop talking about themselves)
  • Feeling superior (they consider themselves better than others, sometimes because they exaggerate their talents or achievements)
  • Preoccupied with fantasies that focus on unlimited success, power, intelligence, beauty, or love
  • Envious (they often envy others or believe that others are envious of them and are acutely aware of how they stack up in the pecking order of whatever group they’re in)
  • Feeling entitled (they believe they are entitled to special treatment and will sometimes bend the rules to obtain it)
  • Overly sensitive (they can be easily hurt but don’t readily show it or even consciously feel it, yet can have a tendency toward rage when they sense danger to their carefully constructed façade and world)
  • Lacking empathy (and/or having a fear of intimacy and problems in sustaining satisfying relationships as a result)
  • Unwilling to take responsibility (for their role in an unfortunate situation; very adept at shifting blame)
  • Vulnerable to shame (more than guilt because they are more outer-directed than inner-directed, but it takes them quite a bit to get them to the point of shame).”

What can we do to create workplace balance when narcissistic behavior presents itself as a barrier to relationship building? Perhaps a good first start is to analyze the equation that Chip Conley gives us and to begin to restore normal levels of self esteem through feedback designed to increase self awareness.


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