D&I and the danger of a narcissist in the team…

Is the most popular person in your business singlehandedly destroying it?

For some years my path has regularly crossed an individual who on the face of it is the driving force behind the team’s success. She brings in energy, vibrancy, and draws people together. She appears caring and empathetic.

But what I have increasingly become aware of is her power to destroy. Whilst bringing the group together she also seeks to control the relationships in the group. She very discreetly sets one against the other, occasionally she’ll exclude someone altogether by making them persona non grata. This behaviour maintains her position of power and control. She is the group’s self appointed leader. She alone brings it together and she alone destroys those who are no longer wanted.

And if ever her aggression or controlling nature get the better of her and becomes overly visible to those in the group, she is immediately contrite “I’m so sorry, everyone’s going to hate me now’ to which everyone replies “there, there we don’t hate you, we love you” and life begins again.

Whilst no one ever discusses it, it is my belief that once people have witnessed her need for control and status within the group, they tend to keep their heads down for fear of becoming the next persona non grata.

But my question is ‘is she a force for good who should be forgiven her outbursts and ever demanding ego or does her destructive nature mean that she herself should be ousted?’

I’ve watched her for over three years and I still can’t decide if she’s brought to the table more than she takes away or vice versa.

But with my diversity and inclusion hat on my view is quite different. Above all she has a need for power. That is dangerous. She is a narcissist. She excludes those who she fears, who threaten her position, who challenge her status. Doing it with a little laugh and friendly smile on your face doesn’t make it acceptable or right.

With this in mind, I believe she should be ousted from the team. D&I has to be about strategies and actions that look to the future, developing cultures fit for future success, changing long term behaviours, setting new standards. The underlying damage of this person’s narcissistic behaviour is seldom evident on a day to day basis, but if you take a helicopter view it will be clear that despite her really good and valuable traits, her need for power, control and ego stroking has created a team that is anything but inclusive.

So, who are the controlling forces in your organisation? Who needs power (‘needs’ rather than ‘has’)? Whose ego results in behaviour that excludes? Who is the narcissist who crosses your path?

For those who are unsure, here is a dictionary definition of a narcissist. “A person who has an excessive interest in, or admiration of themselves. “

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Characteristics are said to include:

  • Exaggerated sense of self-importance. …
  • Feelings of entitlement. …
  • Selfishness in relationships. …
  • Enviousness and suspicion of other people’s motivations. …
  • A need for excessive praise and attention. …
  • Arrogant and judgmental in attitude. …
  • Lack of empathy. …

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/narcissistic-personality-disorder/traits-of-a-narcissist/

 

This is a personal blog written by Helen Jamieson. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Jaluch Ltd. The views and opinions posted in response to this blog are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent those of Helen Jamieson or Jaluch Ltd. Jaluch Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of the information within this blog.

 

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