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警戒!你的老板可能是自戀狂

The warning signs you’re working for a narcissist
警戒!你的老板可能是自戀狂

Almost every office has one. The person whose self-belief exceeds their abilities, who belittles their colleagues, and considers themselves so special and unique they are infuriated when others fail to recognise their talents.

幾乎每個辦公室都有這樣一個人:其自信超越其能力,他們貶低同事,認為自己鶴立雞群,當別人不認可自己的才能時,會感到憤怒。

We’re talking about the office narcissist.

我們所說的是辦公室自戀狂(office narcissist)。

The term stems from Greek mythology when a hunter named Narcissus fell in love with himself when he saw his own image reflected in a pool of water. Sadly, self-obsessed narcissists are no myth in the modern workplace. Identifying their behaviour early can save you a lot of stress.

這個術語源于希臘神話,一個名叫納西瑟斯(Narcissus)的獵人看到自己在水池中的倒影,便愛上了自己??杀氖?,自我癡迷的自戀狂在當今工作場所并不是神話。盡早識別他們的行為可為你減輕很大壓力。

Earlier in her career Karlyn Borysenko, author of Zen Your Work, found herself working for a narcissist.

《工作禪學》(Zen Your Work)的作者波利森科(Karlyn Borysenko)在職業生涯早期時候發現自己的上司是一位自戀狂。

“I absolutely loved her, I thought she was charismatic, I thought she was smart, I was really excited to go and work for her,” says Borysenko. “It took about three months on the job of seeing her day-to-day to realise that something was very wrong with the situation. And to come to grips with the fact that I was working for a narcissist.”

波利森科說,“那時我非常喜歡她,覺得她魅力十足,又聰慧過人。能為她工作我覺得特別興奮。在三個月的時間里,我每天看著她工作,直到有一天發現不大對勁。我突然意識到,我的上司是個自戀狂。”

Borysenko says she found that it became a huge part of her job to flatter her boss, to make her feel good and to promote her in the organisation. “If you didn’t do those things there was a massive retribution.”

波利森科說,她發現自己工作很大一部分是在取悅這位上司,讓她心情愉快,讓她工作可以升職。“如果我不這樣干的話,就會招來嚴重懲罰。”

When it happens consistently over time, it can make you feel like you’re going crazy, she says. “What does this person see that I don’t see? What do they understand that I don’t understand? And you have to come to grips with the fact that it’s more about how they are perceiving the world than it is about what you’re doing.”

她說,這種情形持續下去,會把你逼瘋,這時你會想,“這個人看到了什么我沒有看到?他們理解到什么我理解不到?最后你不得不承認這個事實,他們如何看世界比你如何做更重要。”

Borysenko wasn’t the only person in the office that felt the wrath of their boss’s narcissism. But instead of uniting in recognition of a shared situation, her workmates began to turn against each other because of the stress of feeling powerless to change the dynamic. “It became a competition to see who was going to be in her good graces,” she says.

波利森科并不是辦公室里唯一一個對老板的自戀感到憤怒的人。但她的同事們沒有團結起來面對這一形勢共同進退,反而因為大家無力改變這種情況而產生壓力,結果是互相針對彼此反面。她說,“同事們開始爭先恐后拍老板馬屁,看誰能得到她的歡心。”

“It all comes down to their ability to literally invent their own reality around them, regardless of objective fact or evidence or data. Everything has to go in support of maintaining their self-image.”

“歸根到底,自戀狂只是在編造身邊的事實,自我感良好,毫不理會客觀情況、證據和數據。所有這一切都是為了維持自我形象。”

The bad news is that although narcissists are clearly unpleasant to work with, countless studies have shown they can do very well in their careers – and can even sometimes be good for business. The lack of empathy, the tunnel vision to achieve, the lies and manipulation are all prevalent qualities of people drawn to positions of power.

倒霉的是,雖然與自戀狂一起工作明顯讓人感到不快,但無數研究表明,自戀狂在自己的事業上表現出色,有時甚至給公司帶來好處。缺乏同理心、只專注于狹隘的事業、滿嘴謊言和操控他人等是可以爬升到權力高位的成功人士的普遍特征。

Dr Tim Judge is an organisational and leadership psychologist at Ohio State University. His research analyses the effects narcissists have on business.

賈奇(Tim Judge)博士是俄亥俄州立大學的組織和領導領域的心理學家。他的研究是分析自戀狂對公司的影響。

Judge says that narcissists often have certain characteristics that make them more suited to leadership. “We know narcissists tend to be more charismatic, he says, “they are more likely to take charge of situations which sometimes is needed… and they are more willing and able to take risks when that’s required and there are situations for organisations in crisis where those qualities are desired.”

賈奇說,自戀狂往往具有某些特質,使他們更適合領導他人。他說,“我們知道自戀狂往往更有魅力,他們在需要的時候更容易掌控場面......他們更愿意且能夠在需要時承擔風險。機構在面臨危機時非常需要這些品質。”

And so, to the age-old question of nature versus nurture – is narcissism something you are born with or can it develop over time?

因此,回到古老的先天還是后天之爭——即自戀是與生俱來,還是后天習得?

Judge says it’s both. While there are some studies which point to innate characteristics of narcissism, there are others that show parental practices, income level and things that happen in the workplace also contribute to narcissism.

賈奇說兩者都有。有些研究指出自戀是天生的,有些則表示,父母的行為、家庭收入水平,以及工作中發生的事都可能促成自戀。

“Individuals born into high socio-economic status or high income households tend to have higher scores,” he says, “also a parental style that tends to encourage a child’s self-esteem to an excessive degree” can lead to narcissism.

他說,“那些出生在社會經濟地位高和高收入家庭中的人往往更容易自戀。而且,在這些家庭里,父母會傾向于過度鼓勵孩子自信”,因而導致自戀。

Is this all sounding very familiar? Well, not surprisingly, many prominent people potentially fall under this personality type.

這些聽上去是不是耳熟能詳?嗯,一點也不奇怪,許多知名人士都有可能有這種人格特征。

“I think it’s often a common characteristic of political leaders when they are in crises and change-oriented leadership,” says Judge, “it’s not hard to think of a lot of the charismatic US presidents as narcissistic,” he says, mentioning John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan as potential examples.

賈奇說,“這是那些面臨危機和傾向改革的政治領導人的共同特點。不難想象,很多有魅力的美國總統都很自戀。”他舉例說,美國總統肯尼迪(John F Kennedy)和里根(Ronald Reagan)都是這樣的人。

So, what about the perception that narcissists tend to do quite well in their careers, despite not necessarily performing particularly well? Dr Judge says it comes down to the fact that they are ‘squarely agentic focused’ which means they are wholly focused on their own needs rather than the needs of others. “In terms of extra career success,” he says, “we know this agentic focus tends to be helpful, so earnings, occupational prestige and – it’s a bit strong to say this but it’s true – that’s mostly what narcissists care about.”

那么,盡管自戀狂的表現差強人意,但為什么他們往往能在自己的事業中風生水起?賈奇博士說,原因要歸結為他們“絕對自主”的行為,即完全專注于自己所需,而非他人的需求。他說,“要想在事業上取得額外的成功,這種自主性往往有幫助。因此,自戀狂主要關注收入高低和職業聲望。這種說法可能有點強烈,但事實就是如此。”

So, could a little bit of narcissism be a helpful boost for your career? If you need to convince investors or customers to give you money, self-belief is crucial. But at what point does that confidence tip into delusion?

那么,一點點自戀是否有助于事業提升呢?如果要說服投資人或客戶打開錢包,那么自信心至關重要。但這種自信達到什么程度就會變成錯覺呢?

It’s a risky business, says Don Moore, a professor in leadership at the Haas Business School in California.

加州哈斯商學院(Haas Business School)領導學教授摩爾(Don Moore)表示,這事有風險。

“There are lots of circumstances in life in which it pays to be well-calibrated and faking it – or fooling yourself about how good you are – can lead to a number of predictable and unfortunate errors,” he says.

他說:“在人生中很多情況下,因自我期許很高以及對自身能力的不實際高估,會為此付出代價,自以為是可能導致許多可預見的錯誤和不幸失誤。”

Interestingly, in business, there are often circumstances when over-confident people appear to rise to the top. “When we take their claims of confidence at face value, we are the poorer for it,” warns Moore, “we will wind up adulating, promoting and voting for over-confident jerks who cannot actually deliver on what they say they can do.”

有趣的是,在公司里,似乎經常是那些自負的人能爬得更高。摩爾警告大家,“如果我們相信了這些人表面的自信,那我們就變得比他們還傻。我們會最終變得阿諛奉承、大肆推廣并且支持那些自負的傻瓜,他們根本就是眼高手低。”

“To get promoted to a job of leadership you have to be good and you have to be lucky,” Moore says, “there will always be the temptation to misattribute one’s good fortune to one’s ability and when you do that, you’re going to think that you’re better than you actually are.”

摩爾說:“要想晉升到領導層,你必須能力稱職,還要運氣好。人們很容易把機遇帶來的好運歸功于能力,當你做成一件事,你會以為自己比實際的你還要優秀。”

But despite this, there is still some merit to the motto “fake it till you make it.”

盡管如此,在職場上“弄假成真”還是有一些好處。

“Don’t fall victim to the imposter syndrome,” says Moore, referring to a mindset in which you believe you are inadequate and not up to a particular job or task. “Imposter syndrome is a real issue,” he says, “and underconfidence happens in predictable circumstances… on hard tasks where we’re more aware of our own shortcomings, so taking a little bit of courage and overcoming that imposter syndrome, believing in yourself enough to gain mastery of the task is pretty good advice.”

摩爾說,不要成為冒名頂替綜合癥(imposter syndrome)的受害者。具有這種心理癥狀的人有這樣的心態:認為自己能力不夠,不足以勝任某種工作或完成某項任務。 他說,“冒名頂替綜合癥是真正的問題所在。對可預見的狀況缺乏自信,在履行艱巨任務時,著眼于自己的缺點,因此導致勇氣不足,無法克服冒名頂替綜合征。我建議,要充分相信自己有能力完成任務。”

Indeed, we could actually learn a valuable lesson in self-belief from narcissists.

的確,我們可以從自戀狂那里學到關于自信的寶貴教訓。

Karlyn Borysenko points to the ability of narcissists to create the reality they want as sometimes being the catalyst to getting them to where they want to go.

波利森科指出,自戀狂有能力創造他們想要的現實,有時正是這種自信的能力督促他們達成目的。

“That’s is because they are acting as though that reality is true and oftentimes that’s what propels them to their level of success,” she says.

她說,“原因是,他們的行為似乎已經說明,這就是現實,這種自信往往就是推動他們取得成功的原因。”

“We see this with Donald Trump in the United States. Absolutely he believed he could be president and so he became president. And that would not have happened if he didn’t believe it.”

“我們可以從美國總統特朗普(Donald Trump)那里理解這一點。他絕對相信自己有能力當選總統,于是就成了事實。 如果他連自信都沒有,那根本就不會發生。”
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