Episode #22: Dismantling the Narcissistic Dysfunction 

“My boss is a jerk! She expects me to do all the work and takes all the credit for herself.” “Yeah? Well, my boss laughed at an idea I brought up in a team meeting. You can be sure that I won’t make the mistake of sharing my thoughts in front of everyone ever again.” These all-too-common situations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with a boss who operates from the Narcissistic Leadership Dysfunction.  

Narcissistic behaviors drive leaders (and  anyone who relies on them) to be relentless in getting their needs met at the expense of those around them. Devaluation, shaming, and gaslighting are only a few of the problematic strategies that those who rely on narcissistic behaviors use to ensure that everyone continues to reassure them of their “greatness”. The organizational dysfunctions that narcissistic leaders cause are significant, abundant, and highly destructive. Not knowing how to deal with them and how to protect yourself from them will only complicate the dysfunction.  

In today’s episode, Anne & Heather discuss the Narcissistic Leadership Dysfunction and share some practical tips that you can start using today if you’re struggling with the narcissistic behavior of others at work or in your personal life. They’ll also share real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today. Tune in to learn more about Narcissistic Dysfunctional leadership behavior and discover how you can avoid losing your power by enabling and going along with them just to keep your job . 

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out: 




Stop contributing to organizational dysfunction. Pick up your copy of So, You Think You Can Lead?: A Guide to Developing Your Leadership Authority and Potential  

Make sure you sign up for our weekly newsletters for tips on how to dismantle dysfunction and develop your leaders: https://bit.ly/dismantlingdysfunction 

Are you dealing with an organizational dysfunction you need help with? Or do you have a story you would like to share on our show? Contact us at [email protected]. 



  • [01:58] Episode introduction and overview 
  • [02:57] What is the Narcissistic Leadership Dysfunction?  
  • [16:07] Know yourself and your self-protective persona 
  • [18:52] Manage narcissistic behavior, don’t enable it 
  • [22:49] Don’t take narcissistic behavior personally 
  • [26:55] Don’t deceive yourself  
  • [30:17] Set boundaries and have non-negotiables 
  • [38:59] Episode gem & practical takeaway 
  • [41:35] Episode wrap up 



  • One key difference between Narcissistic defenses and Narcissistic Personality Disorder is that we can all use Narcissistic defenses like the Narcissistic Leadership Persona by becoming so intent on our own agenda that we don’t recognize the impact of our behavior on others. 
  • Many who enable Narcissistic Leaders will deceive themselves into believing it’s okay to compromise their own integrity and go along without saying anything because they fear losing their job.
  • Dealing with a narcissistic boss, peer, or employee means that you have to know yourself and your own Self-protective Persona.
  • Narcissists are at the mercy of their impulses. It doesn’t mean you have to be too. It’s essential that you exercise self-management and not react to their behavior.
  • If you are dealing with Narcissistic behavior in your organization, whether it’s your boss, your peers, or direct reports, it’s time to stop enabling and allowing it to infect your mood or culture. Ready to stop giving your power away? Check out the full episode to learn how you can get started today! 


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

Did you enjoy this episode?

If so, sign up for our newsletter and get exclusive access to some of our best content!

Plus, we’ll keep you in the loop – you’ll be among the first to know when we’ve hit “upload” on a new podcast, article, or YouTube video!