Narcissism, where a person has an over-inflated sense of self-importance, exists on a spectrum. While it is possible for an individual to have narcissistic personality disorder, he or she may only have certain narcissistic traits. Either way, you may have to work with a narcissist every day.
Because they love to win, narcissists are often good at business. Still, if you are not narcissistic yourself, collaborating with a narcissistic business partner may be challenging. Here are three strategies that may help you manage your professional relationship.
1. Execute a comprehensive partnership agreement
Arguably, the best time to mitigate the fallout of working with a narcissistic business partner is before the partnership begins. With a comprehensive partnership agreement, you outline everyone’s rights and responsibilities.
Likewise, your agreement may have a procedure for dealing with disputes. If the partnership eventually becomes untenable, your partnership agreement may also tell you exactly how to move forward without your narcissistic business partner.
2. Negotiate with your partner’s goals in mind
Your narcissistic business partner may want to win at all costs. Still, the priorities of your business partner should not outweigh the interests of the partnership. If you negotiate effectively, you may be able to figure out a way for you, your partner and the partnership to win.
3. Practice distancing yourself
Narcissists often struggle to empathize with others, making them seem brash or downright rude. Put simply, you cannot take your business partner’s actions personally. By learning to distance yourself emotionally, you can focus on what is good for you and your business venture.
In many cases, it certainly is possible to work effectively with a narcissistic business partner. Ultimately, though, the proactive steps you take to keep your partner in check are likely to keep your professional relationship from souring.