Do you have an egomaniac in your office?
As much as they are charming, good at 'selling a story' and surrounded by people, they are manipulative, obsessive and bullies.
By definition (Wikipedia), egomania is an obsessive preoccupation with one's self and applies to someone who follows their own ungoverned impulses and is possessed by delusions of personal greatness and feels a lack of appreciation.
More likened to the clinical narcissistic personality disorder, there are egomaniacs in all walks of life, but its important to be aware of who they are in yours and know which way is the best way to deal with them.
In my profession as a marketing consultant, I am surrounded by egomaniacs. In life, many of my friends also have a healthy sense of ego, but the true egomaniacs are best to keep 'on side' but do try to steer away from them. Here's why:
1. If you are not on their side, they will stomp on you and make sure no-one else is either. Given that egomaniacs are also charming, be aware, they can charm the pants of someone - literally.
2. They won't accept rejection. Rejection in any form, comes with a pay-back clause.
3. They are always right and if you dare to not think they are right, they are good 'campaigners'.
4. They have to be liked, so their passive aggressive behaviour may stomp on you and belittle you to others with untruths. But don't be surprised if in no time, they come back to you with something they think you cannot refuse. Like earlier this year, I cut ties with an egomaniac, and after being a bully and horrible, a week later he sent me an email saying that he has a "billionaire to invest in my business". This is typical egomaniac behaviour. Never fall for this bait as its their way of trying to be 'liked' and feeds their passive aggressive behaviours.
5. They will do absolutely anything to get their own way and to get people on-side, if you have fallen off-side. Anything includes using whatever means they have to woo people.
It's not all doom and gloom. Egomaniacs exist in the world. I have just finished reading Simon Cowells book and he is out there and proud to be an 'egomaniac'. He's successful, so many egomaniacs believe that it is ok to be 'who they are' because that is what 'stars are made of'.
Why is being an egomaniac bad for your personal brand?
1. Most people don't like the drama associated with being around an egomaniac, so while they may not say anything, they are thinking it. To them, you are plain 'weird' and mostly they see through your passive aggressive behaviours and 'feel sorry for you'.
2. While people may let you think you have won, you have gone down in their estimation - big time. Don't be fooled. You will never be in their top handful of friends.
3. Other egomaniacs won't like you and many of the world's top business people and superstars fall into this category. Your pool just gets smaller and smaller.
4. You won't learn, because you are not open to learning. You will never be a better person, because you are not open to be a better person - you already think you are.
5. Ultimately, people don't want to be close to an egomaniac. When an egomaniac burns someone, people are smart and they see it. They may not say anything, but they know and its another strike against you.
6. People will be scared of you and they will have seen your bullying and never wrong attitude. They may appear on the surface as friends just to pacify you but your friends will be less and less as years go by.
Here's how I have learned to deal with egomaniacs.
1. Check your own ego at the door: We all have egos, but hopefully its just a healthy amount. When you come face to face with an egomaniac, know that they are not worth your time and energy. Think about how you can reduce your interaction with them. If they have a point of view, don't challenge it, excuse yourself and go to the restroom. By challenging it, they will feel the need to win and you will lose or face the fate of their behaviours.
2. Get perspective: Life is short and we will always come across people with quirky personality types. Why its important to understand elements of an egomaniac is because they may go through stages of influence on how you view the world or certain people. Egomaniacs are self-serving so their opinions quite frankly don't count. They are communicating only what they want for you to buy-into.
3. If you are on the receiving end of an egomaniacs tantrum of need for control over a situation, be assertive. Don't let bullies win.
4. Understand where they are coming from. Most egomaniacs didn't have enough love growing up, or their fathers left their mothers early on. No-one paid attention to them. They just want to be loved and appreciated and to be liked. They don't know how else to act because no-one has taught them right from wrong and that you don't need to win a fight to win. No-one has taught them compassion and kindness. They are after all, just big babies looking for approval.
5. Distance yourself. It's a great psychological trick. If they are past 40 years of age, they won't change. Keep them in small doses and when they get under your skin, just walk away... you don't need to see them for another six months.
Why is a marketing blog on egomania important? I am writing this as it is a conversation I hear a lot about. Egomaniacs live in everyone's life. We have to deal with them and the fact of the matter is that they often are in roles of authority. Knowing how to deal with them, will assist you in not being bullied by their antics, or seduced by their charm. It will make your life much happier - trust me. Talking from experience. As marketers, we do need to understand our audience.