How to deal with a narcissistic business partner

Is your business partner in love with himself to the extent that he feels omnipotent and superior? Is he always exaggerating about his achievements and striving for attention? Does he or she only care about himself or herself and is obsessed with unlimited success? In that case, my dear friend, you have just met a narcissist. And you definitely need some pointers as to how to deal with them.

Get away

The first thing you need to know when you spot narcissism in your business partner is, get away while you still can! They will not realize your true value as an individual. It may also come down to the point where they will start to take credit for your work and exaggerate their efforts. They will try to do anything to put themselves in front and don’t really care about the people they hurt in the process. Narcissists are hard nuts to crack and your scope to have their interests aligned with yours is very much limited. So get out of this trap and find yourself in a much better place with people who genuinely care about others too, and not just themselves. You need someone who will back you up in times of need and not snatch credit away. Get rid of the bad apple pronto or find a new basket.

Be clear of what you want

A narcissist will look at you as if you are a mirror. They will fish for compliments and appreciation. The first truth about a narcissist is that everything has to be about them. They lack the general empathy that humans have and are obsessed to being put forward everywhere. If you want to get something out of a narcissist, you must make it about them. Let’s say you want to talk about a new client and why you should acquire a contract from them. In that case, you should put the idea forward in such a way that it becomes about them. You could say something like, ‘I think working with them will really do wonders not just for our company but for your image as well. Such a prestigious firm on our clientèle shall make you look more successful and capable of dealing with much bigger enterprises and grand projects’. They love nothing more than ‘you’ and ‘successful’ in the same sentence. You must show how it will benefit them, to start buying the idea. They will constantly try to steer the conversation towards themselves and as long you are getting what you want, let them do it. Have the idea clear in your head about what you want and what he or she wants. See how they will derive something from what it is that you want.

Acknowledge and move on

If you have no option but to ‘just deal with it’, you must know that a narcissist thrives on support, acknowledgement and recognition. You must not demand much from them and expect even lesser. As they lack empathy, they will not understand how important something is for you. An intervention will hardly help unless they decide to alter their narcissism. For example if a particular buyer is important to you or you have good relations with them and want to pursue their work first, take heed of point number 1. Show your partner how it will benefit them. Don’t try to bring out how important they are to ‘YOU’. This will only provoke them to work against the entire idea.

Also, in case they say something which you disagree with, getting angry or having a heated argument is of no use at all. After they have provided their views regarding a subject you don’t feel so good about, tell them, ‘No I don’t think this will be good for you and the company’s image. It is not going to gain you any appraisal at all. Think about it, such a prestigious business head with a project that is such a dud.’

Remember: you can enjoy all the good qualities about them but don’t make yourself dependent on them. If you are a good person or a fantastic businessman, you don’t need some Tom, Dick or Harriet to tell you so. Have faith in yourself.

Honesty and sincerity

It is important that you are willing to listen carefully to everything they have to say. As they need recognition, you must give them a positive one, otherwise they will take absolutely no time in making it abundantly clear that you are worthless. Also, be honest in your recognition and praise. Insincere flattery will take you nowhere with them as they have zero ground for self-esteem. If you feel that they have done some good piece of work- tell them! And if the opposite is the case, remedy the situation by doing a better job. You can tell them something like this, ‘You have put in so much effort for this. It really is commendable! Why don’t you let me do the finishing touches and then your baby will be nothing but the best.’

However don’t worry about making them more self centered. They started at an early age and it’s difficult to stop them now. Don’t blame yourself.

Do not confide

Narcissists have low tolerance for frustration and interference. Don’t challenge their wishes or desires in anyway as they will leave no stone unturned to crush you under their foot if you do so. They want exaggeration and attention and will do anything to get it, even if it means demeaning you! In case you don’t particularly like their idea, just smile, keep quiet and move on. But don’t take any abuse from them. You should know that if they are looking for so much appraisal, they are very much weak inside. Do something better. Gain their respect. Don’t argue and seek vengeance. There is a 99% chance that you are not a superhero and will end up being hurt. You must also refrain from confiding your deepest feelings into someone who will just not respect them.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team (C)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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