How To Deal with the Office Drama Queen

Omarosa was the co-worker we loved to hate on the first season of The Apprentice . But dealing with a drama queen in your office is a lot less fun than watching one on TV.

You know the type we're talking about (and, yes, they can be male as well as female). They tell outrageous lies, exaggerate past accomplishments, and take credit for work others have done. When they mess up, it's everyone else's fault.

If you try to politely disagree with them, you may find yourself facing a ranting co-worker accusing you of having every character defect imaginable. Their behavior seems, well, crazy.

In fact, a co-worker who behaves this way may have a personality disorder known as narcissism according to Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, a licensed psychologist and author of How to Be Your Own Therapist.

Narcissists have a grandiose sense of self-importance. Narcissists will do whatever it takes to put themselves in the best possible light even if it means tearing down others.

Narcissists create drama and tell stories so outrageous you may think no one with business savvy could possibly be fooled. But because the office narcissist can be so articulate and charming, it can take the boss a while to figure out what's going on.

So what do you do if you have a narcissist in your office? "You ignore her," recommends Dr. Farrell."Why do you suppose she is always at the center of controversy? Simply because that's the way she gets to be important."

If it's not possible to ignore the office narcissist, then try to keep the peace.  Be pleasant, validate their feelings and even pamper them. However, don't ever let your guard down by trusting the narcissist or relying on them for anything.

Second, you need to cover your a**!  To do this, keep written records of your communications with the narcissist and make sure that copies are sent to your superior so they are aware of your dealings and what you are working on.

But tell the narcissist as little as possible to avoid having your ideas stolen or information used against you.

How do you resolve a conflict that arises with the narcissist?  Don't waste your energy trying to resolve the issue directly with the office narcissist.  It is a no-win battle. This type of person is unreasonable and doesn't understand that their behaviour is abnormal. 

To resolve issues, you need to go over their head to your superior and bring all the written evidence you can to support your claim. The narcissist, when asked about the issue, will do anything to save face including lying.  They need to keep their illusion of grandiosity alive and if that means bringing you down, they'll do it, so you need to be prepared with your evidence.

If the narcissist is your superior, consider finding a different position unless you feel like boosting the narcissist's self esteem on a daily basis while waiting it out until they are eventually fired.

If you are the boss of a narcissist, keep written records of any issues. Once you have enough ammunition to proceed, let those two words roll off your tongue that The Donald made famous:  "You're Fired!"

Tag and Catherine Goulet are authors of Dream Careers and founders of FabJob Inc. Visit www.FabJob.com to discover how to break into the career of your dreams. 
 

by Tag and Catherine Goulet

Sisters Tag and Catherine Goulet are the Dream Career Experts. In 1999 they founded FabJob.com, a publisher of guides on how to break into a dream career, which has been visited by 50 million people. They have been featured giving career advice in media from ABC to Oprah.com and Woman's Day to the Wall Street Journal online, and their career advice appears frequently on the career pages at MSN.com and AOL.com. They are authors of the book Dream Careers: How to Quickly Break into a Fab Job! Visit www.FabJob.com to discover how to break into a dream career.


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