KEY PRINCIPLES FOR PRO-ACTIVELY MANAGING THE RISK OF WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT
Earlier today I had the opportunity to catch up with a colleague I hadn’t seen for some time. Our Skype conversation wasn’t purely one of old friends getting reacquainted with personal news - important although that is - it was as a result of a request for input and advice regarding a client interested in developing means to address workplace bullying. In particular, as a result of some recent events, how the client could manage bullying at work effectively. There is no question that bullying at work is a significant drain on creativity, time, productivity, and effective relationships. Anyone who disagrees, I would respectfully suggest, likely has bullying tendencies themselves, has never experienced bullying personally, or has become desensitised to cultural norms around them that have developed over the course of their tenure. Efforts to remove and manage workplace bullying are performance multipliers rather than compliance requirements. Managing workplace bullying is a vast and complex topic enmeshed within subjective personal experience, organisational cultural norms (e.g. is it OK or not OK to show weakness or difficulty here?), time, the strength of collegial relationships, personality (e.g. why does it bother me and not anyone else?), and national cultural differences (e.g. whether speaking up against someone in authority is appropriate or seen as rude and disrespectful). It is this complexity that is often overlooked and only becomes apparent to observers once significant time has passed, acute coping mechanisms used to tolerate the intolerable have become less effective, and either a formal complaint or significant behavioural reaction to a catalysing incident becomes apparent to those not directly involved in what has been developing over time. Breaking this complexity down is difficult but important particularly if there is a desire by a team to intervene earlier rather than latter in an evolving conflict, a desire by an organisation to be in the best position to limit fall out from a continuing clash, and/or a desire by a senior management team or human resource professional to limit strategic loss of knowledge and skills as a result of an entrenched and apparently unresolvable gulf in perspective between individuals in dispute So, to keep things simple, after two decades working in the workplace conflict field in companies big and small, public and private, and across industry groups here are some of the key lessons I have learned that, if mastered and implemented well, will definitely assist any organisation or team manage bullying and other forms of conflict as effectively as reasonably possible Early conversations. I rarely put tips in order of importance because, let’s face it, it can be very hard to justify the order decided but in this case early conversations are by far the number one piece of advice by a long way. The opportunity to clarify expectations, deal with issues when they are merely embers rather than a raging inferno, being approachable, provide an outlet for frustration and a listening ear, and managing assumptions are critical. Too often I have come across situations that, for want of an earlier conversation would have been resolved or, at the very least, significantly lessened. This, of course, requires the necessary soft communication skills, emotional intelligence, and an environment that rewards and supports managing relationships pro-actively (coaching, mentoring, part of our culture) Define bullying as clearly as possible. There is a lot of grey area when it comes to workplace bullying, understandably so given the subjective nature of interpretation of intent and impact. But there is also a lot of black and white that can clarify regarding what is acceptable and unacceptable and, just as importantly, why in the context of the specific work people do, the manner in which interaction takes place and disagreement is managed, and the desired culture the employer wants to promote. The rationale for what is acceptable and not in the workplace is important as it provides a mandate for change that goes beyond personal opinion and sensitivity. Provide behavioural examples and guidelines that assist education, give confidence, and assist communication decision-making. Just because someone feels uncomfortable or doesn’t like a message, for example, is not on its own evidence of workplace bullying Establish a threshold for action. At what point can it be expected that action will be taken, and why? What are the options available? Where does the responsibility lie for action between employee and employer, and how can barriers for effective action be reduced to resolve significant conflict or allegations of significant harm? It may, hypothetically, be a formal written complaint, it may be when a manager or other duly authorised officer is approached in confidence, it may be as a result of an overt argument showing specific characteristics of threat and/or intimidation, or any other threshold indicator. Make this threshold clear, train for and support subsequent interventions, and resource a process that is timely, confidential, and seen to be independent and fair. An important component is to provide opportunity for an issue to be actively managed whether a formal complaint is received or not. Too often a formal complaint is believed to be a minimum threshold for action when it should be a supplement to more discrete (or sometimes quite overt) monitoring and measures to address an issue that have already been taken Don’t be afraid to talk about it, even as a query or point of discussion. Workplace bullying is not a taboo subject or in the ‘too hard’ box. It’s in the uncomfortable box and not providing a mechanism to disclose, discuss and inquire makes it much harder when beliefs become more entrenched as impact escalates. Bullying is very context dependent, and awareness of that context is an important factor for people to consider. It is a real and tangible outcome of behaviour that passes the ‘reasonable’ test as to what constitutes harm – that it would be expected another group of reasonable individuals, all factors being equal, would also likely find a behaviour unduly and unjustifiably harmful. Most of the time such behaviour will cause offense but not everything we find personally offensive, intimidating, or we are in disagreement with constitutes bullying. There is a difference between being uncomfortable, for whatever reason, and case to be made for harm to have been unreasonably caused Treat bullying as a performance matter, not one of health and safety. This can be a bit of a controversial perspective as bullying can be highly subjective and individually-oriented with regards to interpretation and impact. However, it’s strategically important the conversation is moved from personal sensitivity to normalised behaviour that is not desired whether intended to harm or not. Whilst bullying has very real health and safety implications, its placement under the lens of health and safety tends to place responsibility on the victim(s) rather than the individual or individuals who engaged in the behaviour or action(s) in question in the first place Pay attention to culture. Workplace culture is the unspoken amalgamation of what is OK to do and not OK to do around the workplace. It can include symbols and traditions, typical conversations and the way issues are raised and managed. How do we deal with conflict? How do we manage dissent? Are people afraid to speak up, speak out, or speak about? How do we manage performance? Is the way we do things around here, when no one is holding us to account, the way we desire to? Aspects of culture both enable undesirable behaviour and promote desired behaviour, and the way we manage critical business as usual that pushes us away from our towards people is an insight into the culture we have.
INFLUENCE STRATEGIES: THE MULTIPLE DOOR THEORY OF INFLUENCE
When it comes to communication we often tend to think tactically rather than strategically. What I mean by that is the tendency is to think short-term - the next conversation, our next email, the next telephone call. There is no question this type of thinking is both necessary and valuable. It’s a skill set for another blog; in fact many more than one. After all planning the next step is important, as is responding to immediate needs. Every meeting or conversation, however, takes place within a larger context. It is within that wider context of personal brand, expectations and assumptions, values that are shared and different, and agendas known and hidden that such conversations take place. This is where the skill of 'influence' lies. Not in the meeting or conversation itself but within the perspectives people have prior to, or after, contact between people. When it comes to trying to get people to understand our point of view it is vital to be willing to listen even if only to disagree, generate goodwill, or build a relationship. These are all medium- or long-term endeavours. Rarely are they short term unless the nature of the relationship is very immediate and purely transactional. Increasingly I’ve been asked to give advice as to how to do that - whether it be to develop a team, resolve an ongoing employee dispute, or improve an existing relationship. Whether one-on-one coaching, running a workshop or giving advice at a strategic HR level there needs to be a way to think strategically around how we build influence at work. Several years ago I developed what I came to call the Multiple Door Theory of Influence. It was a way for people to step away from thinking about the next point of engagement with an individual or a team, and see how those points of contact fitted within a bigger picture. As a result we can form a strategy of influence, playing the long game, and identify where and in what way we can gain the most leverage in terms of building the influence we want, over who, and with regards to what. That's a short summary of an involved process. The Multiple Door Theory of Influence uses the simple metaphor of a house with three doors – a front door, a back door and a side door. Each door represents the three key means by which influence typically develops, whether that be at an individual or group level. Each door creates an opportunity to set precedents, establish boundaries, clarify issues, and convey what is important and unimportant. This gives us three options, or combinations of options, for building influence using a simple model easily applied across a range of circumstances and over whatever time frame suits our objectives. With the model we can plan where we apply our efforts, in what way, with who, when and where. Naturally, as with any plan, flexibility is essential. The long-term nature of the model allows for that flexibility and shift of focus when required. Put briefly the front door represents conversations, be they one-on-one or with a group. They may be informal or a robust meeting of minds. Whatever their nature they are face to face. Planning revolves around what the content of the meeting(s) needs to be (as opposed to what we want it to be), who is involved and why, the lead up to it and the follow up afterwards. The side door represents influencing people through others. Every team has those within it more influential than others. Those people listen to, look up to, admire; the informal social leaders who mentor, train and show others what is unacceptable and acceptable around here. It is these individuals who in turn influence others and without their support, conscious or otherwise, introduction of change and establishment of what is OK and not OK to do around here is much harder to implement. The final door is the back door – team culture or team brand (impression giving and emotional connection). Team culture, very simply, reflects the norm as to how we do things around here. It may be how conversations take place, how mistakes are treated, how feedback is given, how customers are served, how colleagues are managed, what behaviour is supported, or what behaviour is unacceptable and how that is defined and managed. It defines a team and what is really important because it reflects how we behave towards people and what we think. Two factors more than any other help determine culture within a team. They are observations of a) how conflict is managed (reduced), and b) how poor performance is managed (expectations clarified). Master those two core leadership functions and any leader places themselves in a strong position to determine the culture they have through design and not accident. There it is, put simply, the Multiple Door Theory of Influence.
CREDIBILITY AND THE POWER OF OUR BRAND
Recently I’ve had a number of discussions centred around the concept of credibility. In particular assumptions made that cause others to believe we, as an individual or company, don’t have the necessary skills (or product, capacity or support) and who therefore do not listen or take an interest in an offer of product or service as a result. This originated when having lunch with some colleagues the topic of conversation shifted to frustration at organisations (in different countries) unwilling or unable to take on good advice. It also applies to individuals when we assume someone not from our background could understand or assist (or someone not from our country) and is too small/too large/too hot/too cold/too much of one thing or too little of another to see where we’re coming from and be able to make a difference in some of the fundamental challenges we are facing. Size of economy doesn’t matter, what matters is the capacity to innovate in this regard. It is outcome of the ease with which business can be done (regulations), the open access to essential information (communication technology and attitude to learning), tolerance of diversity, historical degree of entrepreneurialism (cultural values and economic systems), and immediate need (urgency). Sometimes those assumption that work against us having credibility in the eyes of others are based upon suspicion and rumour (including occupational reputation) and/or known facts that give pause to time spent listening, learning and taking on board what we might have to say. Usually, however, those assumptions are based upon false generalisations and can be summated within the phrase, ‘You don’t understand what we do or know enough about what we do.’ This, of course, begs two questions. First, if an organisation or individual does not themselves fully understand their role, challenges, purpose, and process (a more frequent occurrence than business are often willing to admit simply due to size, complexity or lack of reflection/review) then is it not both foolish and somewhat arrogant that they expect others to? That is the point of fresh eyes and a different perspective. Second, if an organisation or individual does clearly understand these factors then for what reason is it believed that an individual or group cannot add value by improving and providing an alternative view on critical aspects of how an organisation operates, what it produces, its relationship with its market and its strategy for the future? Persuasion against these incumbent mindsets is assisted by number of factors, a key one of which is perceived relevance and credibility. Credibility hinges upon the reputation we have. Reputation isn’t a product of how we talk about ourselves but of how others talk about us. For others to talk about us they need to watch us or at least listen to those who have some knowledge of who we are, what we stand for, and the work we do. Credibility is gained through relationship management, time, and the lens through which product, service and interpersonal contact occurs. Corporations understand this all too well – the ability of a brand to be larger than the actual strength of its products or services. This is the assumption that by virtue of visual exposure to a brand image, frequency of product sighting in a market, or brand name entering into regular social and professional conversation the brand must, essentially, be a good one and therefore of value (or at least a viable competitor with a sound promise of value). This is how great brands thrive and become self-sustaining. It is also how former great brands survive long after the product or service they had was competitive in quality or price – through brand inertia and customer loyalty. The same principle applies to individuals and the concept of an individual brand, based as it is on the work done, how one is spoken about, and the impression we make. Individuals with a good reputation based upon a) sighting of work samples (social media has made this a quick, accessible, and affordable reality), b) frequency of delivering solutions with brand champions (current established brands that have name recognition in the marketplace), and c) the frequency of someone being positively talked about in commercial conversations (professional, knowledgeable, created a solution, easy to work with, ethical) will more easily gain credibility with those they do not know and with whom they have had no previous contact. These, then, are the three factors individuals need to develop in order to build credibility in a new market they have targeted for growth. A plan building on these factors needs to form a key component of any marketing strategy. It is a long term strategy that turns the individual’s brand into a self-sustaining engine over a period of time. This strategy needs to take ‘known facts’ and clarify their accuracy and relevance. This in turn creates a compelling case to listen and learn, to stop and consider – to reflect on what is deemed important and why, and the obstacles and opportunities for progress previously undiscovered or dismissed. Once we shift thinking, or at least introduce the possibility that current thinking has been surpassed or new thinking will generate different results, behavioural change in processes and systems will follow – all as a result of how we have sown the seeds of credibility.
MANAGING TEAM STRESS BASICS
The impact of stress in the workplace is well known, and in an increasingly complex market and society pressure to varying degrees is experienced across all levels of an organisation, no matter the occupation, purpose, or marketplace. The consequences of high workplace stress include poor morale, reduced performance, resistance to change and increased conflict. Longitudinal research has identified two factors, in particular, that contribute to a higher risk of experiencing workplace stress – complexity of role and responsibilities, and time pressure to achieve and perform. It is the obligation of all employers, and by default all managers as agents of their employer, to take reasonable steps to reduce workplace stress and manage it as effectively as possible. This does not mean stress must be removed (not that it's possible to do that anyway) but that reasonable steps must be made. Managing stress is, at the end of the day, a partnership between the employer and the employee and both have responsibilities. Health and safety legislation highlights, among other things, the personal responsibility of a manager to actively demonstrate their efforts to manage the occupational health of those they are responsible for on premise, to be pro-active, and to take responsibility for team and broader workplace culture. In practice this means that individual managers can be held accountable and raises significant implications for occupational health practice and responsibility. There are a number of simple and effective points to consider when looking at a program that improves managers’ stress reduction capability, and in turn reduce employer liability and promote employee performance, well-being and overall team adaptability. 1. Create a supportive culture Workplace cultures that deny stress is a problem tend to result in extreme reactions when stress does occur. A supportive culture exists when people feel they can talk about stress openly and without impact on their reputation and credibility, and where asking for help is seen as a sign of wisdom not weakness. A supportive culture is a vehicle for discussion and ideas, identification of opportunity, creative thinking and is a sign of resilience. 2. Appreciate people’s differences Everyone is different — whether by personality, background, skills, or outlook. One person’s stress is another person’s welcomed challenge. Ensure the right people are selected for the stressors most likely to be encountered on the job, that each individual is aware of their own warning signs and trigger points, and measures are put in place to enable effective reflection, discussion, and self-management. 3. Develop recognition and awareness of personal responsibility When under stress people react in both different and similar ways. There are various behavioural signs, physical symptoms, and emotional reactions that may indicate unusually high stress levels. It’s also a matter of people understanding what is within their control and what they take responsibility for, and outside of that possibly need help with. Get to know each person’s personality, temperament, preferential style and key experiences and what their individual signs. Encourage and provide systems and mechanisms that allow people to self-manage effectively while balancing performance responsibilities. In other words, instead of reinforcing the responsibilities we all have to manage ourselves proactively companies need to have policies and practices in place that demonstrates support for this. 4. Resolve issues as they arise Try not to let things fester. Focus on early identification and early action. Value the time it takes to discuss, analyse and manage issues. If we don’t those issues will hang around and re-surface later with greater history than we may be able to manage effectively. An earlier awkward conversation is much better than a critical hostile one much later. 5. Build the team Good workplace relationships are a very important buffer to serious stress occurring. Team building that increases knowledge of interpersonal differences, conflict resolution and problem solving skills, appreciation and recognition of individual talents, and the flow of information across team members can be very effective to counter stress. Good consistent communication, sharing, and development of reduced defensiveness (i.e. it’s not about me it’s about the work we are all involved in and I am part of) that is inclusive and involves all team members as best as possible helps a team set, monitor, discuss, and maintain their own standards and expectations alongside some humour. 6. Heighten opportunities for personal control over ones work There is a large body of research showing that control over how a heavy workload is managed is one of the most effective ways to manage stress at work. Strategies may include flexible work hours, working from home, clarifying priorities, use of innovation, and improved devolution of decision making. This doesn’t mean the same as reducing workload, but clarifying what’s negotiable and non-negotiable, and where the areas of most effective personal practice and performance may lie on a day to day and week to week basis. 7. Remember everyone Include part-timers, volunteers, and remote workers in all initiatives alongside full time employees whenever possible in communications and gatherings. If it’s not possible to include everyone then ensure people are not forgotten and included and listened to in other ways. 8. Plan for contingencies If the worst case happens what will you do? Get ideas from the team, or at least key members of the team where possible critical incidents may apply that affect outcomes. Options should be available in a workplace stress policy, and include employee assistance, peer support, medical advice, and stress management interventions.
10 TIPS FOR BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT
Ten key tips for improving our ability to manage the time we have available more effectively, reproduced from a paper delivered to the 16th Annual Payroll Conference held in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 27 March 2013. 1) Understand what you’re good at and not good at. What we’re good at we tend to enjoy more and be more efficient and productive at. Give a priority to doing what you’re good at and find others to do what you’re not good at and not so efficient at doing. 2) The stuff you don’t want to do but you have to do get on to it first and as part of a routine. Maybe 8am-9am is your old email clearing time, or maybe you hate doing the dishes so either a) get a dishwasher (some of us call them ‘children’; it’s not easy to get them to do stuff I know but that’s part of parenting – you get to have revenge when they have children) or b) get on to them fairly soon after you’ve eaten. Whatever it may be remember that delaying the time we take to do the mundane just places that time demand somewhere else and creates a sense of non-achievement (because it’s stuff still waiting to be done). How often have we woken up in the morning and walked into the kitchen to find last night’s unwashed dishes on the bench and groaned. We end up using the same time we would have used last night to wash them, but in a tighter and more stressful time frame because we have to go to work. 3) Make a meeting with yourself – regularly. This is your time, maybe to catch up on things, maybe to make some phone calls you need to, maybe to go for a walk or run, maybe to think and reflect, maybe to plan and prepare. Whatever the reason, we don’t like to break a meeting we have made with others so why shouldn’t we use the same sense of respect on ourselves. 4) Let go of trying to find more time. Time is like money. Yes there’s a level below which its availability significantly crimps our basic enjoyment of life but in general it’s not how much you have it’s what you do with it. Identify what’s important to you – family, work, health, relationships, interests and hobbies, or whatever. At the start of each day plan to do at least one thing that contributes to each and prioritise it. Maybe it’s a kiss, maybe a thank you, maybe a smile, maybe some time with others, maybe a phone call or text, maybe some new learning. Whatever it is it means that at least part of each day is you working on making your day great rather than someone else’s. 5) When stuff starts to build up learn to use the Four D’s. Do, delegate, delay, or drop. Enough said. Not everything is critical or needs you involvement in it even if you want to be. 6) Get a diary. Whether you’re a list person or not, organised or disorganised, old or young, old school (paper diary) or electronic (phone app or computer program) don’t rely on memory alone. Memory may give a sense of freedom and a diary may create a sense of impending obligations but the former is one of blissful ignorance while the later ensures we stay on top of what we need to do, with who, when, where, and why. 7) If you have a diary make sure you use it effectively. A diary replaces your short-term memory but like baking a cake it’s only as nice as the ingredients you put in it. What’s more the ingredients need to go in to the cake in the right order. The most important stuff (not what others think is important but that is important to you because it gives you energy or will save you time later on) goes in the cake [and is prioritised in the diary] first. 8) Don’t obsess so much about stuff you didn’t get around to today. When we’re up late at night doing stuff it usually means one of three things: a) we messed around a bit and chose to spend some of our time earlier less effectively than we could have, b) we chose a delayed consequence, or c) we were working on what was important for someone else at the expense of ourselves. 9) Respect what you miss doing and prioritise doing more of it in the future. We let things go we used to enjoy and the consequence is we add to load without any commensurate increase in our performance. Any organism can only take so much load before it squeezes itself dry (figuratively speaking). Often we tell ourselves we keep taking on board more responsibility and tasks because we’ll let others down who have expectations of us. In reality what we’ve done is develop a habit of putting others first. This is noble and admirable but too much of this means we run on empty and before we know it resent all that we have on our plate. We choose what we have on our plate; no one else does. 10) Only ever plan to use no more than 80% of the time you have. The other 20% isn’t wasted. It’s there for Murphy’s Law to arrive in a blaze of trumpets. It’s there for the meetings that go over time, and the telephone calls that take ages, and the emails that take longer than anticipated to write. It’s the elastic in your day.
NARCISSISM AT WORK: WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
[This article was originally written in June 2016 as a predictive exercise] Of late considerable media attention has been given to a certain un-named (non-NZ) politician and some strong consistent characteristics, particularly around communication and response to criticism, that have been demonstrated by said individual. The terms in the media I have heard used to describe this person include that they are a bully and Narcissistic, and on the surface it is true there are some (at times alarming) similarities with what a psychologist might consider were narcissistic characteristics. Such characteristics are not the exclusive realm of politics, far from it. They exist across the world of work, and most often manifest in a minority of those holding positions of power and influence. It is not power and influence that creates such qualities, it is that individuals with certain traits are often attracted to roles of power and influence, or feel deserving of them. After all, if you really believe you're fantastic you're going to want a position that allows you to show that! However, we also need to be careful of what I commonly see happening - diagnosis by media and public acclamation. We may see a glimpse of someone on television or through an interview on line, or judge someone by reputation and not personal knowledge. As repeated or emotional as they may be, those sources present only a portion of the facts, filtered through the lens of someone else. Narcissism is a classic example of that - a powerful collection of traits that becomes confused with other factors in an effort to explain and make sense of what we are seeing. So let's start with clearing up a few myths about Narcissism, by defining what it is in a broad sense, and then translating those qualities into what you could expect to see if you were dealing with someone who was genuinely Narcissistic at work (or anywhere else for that matter). In broad terms Narcissism is a stable personality characteristic dominated by unusually high levels of self-love, self-regard, conceit, and egotism. It is way beyond self-confidence, not merely someone with who is aggressive, or someone who seeks attention or believes they are particularly talented or special in what they provide. There is a level of belief by someone Narcissistic that, without them, little can and will be achieved of any value - that they are irreplaceable. They seek admiration not just for what they have accomplished but for who they are, because the two are intertwined aspects of their personality. The focus of someone genuinely Narcissistic is on what can be achieved for them, how an endeavour makes them look in the eyes of others (those in positions of 'power' or 'influence'), and what is in their interests (if that aligns with the interests of others then that is fine but not a major consideration). Basically, it's all about them. They are the most intelligent, talented, original, creative and successful person in the room. Someone who is Narcissistic will believe that but they won't tell you it - because they already expect you to know. Hence the offense taken and dismissal of someone's intelligence of worth when that self-belief is not respected People who are Narcissistic can lead very successful lives, have families, have friends, study, have a career and engage with society quite effectively. On the positive side they are confident, often charismatic (because of that confidence), have determination, are pragmatic, are goal-oriented, and have big ideas (often grandiose). They see nothing as being beyond them if they put their mind and will to it. Unfortunately, like any true pathology Narcissistic individuals have what I refer to as fatal flaws. These are flaws that, over time, leave a litany of destruction behind them as they pursue their goals and are 'fatal' not in the sense they are life threatening, but that they are beyond alteration or change with tremendous negative impact on many around them. Eventually, workplace Narcissists are discovered (or maybe uncovered or finally recognised) but not without considerable pain along the way. The following are the most common fatal flaws we can expect to see in the workplace by someone genuinely Narcissistic. 1) Narcissists don't have true friends, they have people who agree with them. And they are very loyal to those who agree with them....as long as they are useful. Friendship is based on mutual admiration, not acceptance of faults. Narcissists have no real faults in their own eyes - mistakes are due to the action of others, incorrect information given, or misinterpretation of the message. 2) Narcissists will learn not through personal recognition of a lack of knowledge, skill or character, but through realising they need to develop a new way to achieve what they want. In this they can be quite pragmatic and will adapt for those they see as their equal or superior and not for someone they see as inferior, which is most people. They see very few as their superior or equal. 3) Narcissists do not listen to others unless they are useful or in a position of influence. Respect for others as a basic principle is lacking and they often treat those below them differently from those they view as peers. They respect what others can do for them that aligns with their goals and perspective. 4) Narcissists struggle to apologise in a manner most would see as sincere. Apologies are provided rarely, grudgingly, and often with a caveat that reduces the seriousness of the incident they are apologising for or avoids taking complete responsibility for an error made (e.g. someone let them down). 5) Narcissists don't get angry they get even. Strong offense is taken against those they believe have done them wrong or harmed them, particularly in regards to their status, influence or authority. They hold grudges and see most criticism as personal. 6) Narcissists tend to employ those who agree with them, follow them, or who will not cross them. They value personal loyalty, will generally surround themselves with that loyalty when possible, and will reward personal loyalty as a consequence but often in an inconsistent way. 7) Narcissists are convinced of their version of 'the truth', irrespective of the facts or objective evidence displayed before them. Contrary evidence is dismissed as irrelevant, incomplete, or based on sources lacking credibility in their eyes. The narrative developed as a result reinforces a worldview that has the Narcissist at the centre. Those seven fatal flaws are probably enough for any workplace to be mindful of.