Employee Narcissism At All-Time High

Do you feel that our fixation on employee feedback is perpetuating our narcissistic society?

It’s a question I thought of recently and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  On one hand, I truly believe we have a major issue with narcissism in our society that is getting worse, not better.  I also believe giving feedback to employees, on the work they do, is very valuable and needed to have a strong workforce.

So what gives?

We are told Annual Employee Evaluations are broken and not enough.

We are told you must give feedback to your employees frequently throughout the year.

We are also told that we have multiple generations that have gotten ‘hooked’ on feedback, like a junky is ‘hooked’ on crack.  You get up and you put up a selfie waiting for your ‘followers’ to comment, to ‘like’, to give you a fix.  You get to work, one more selfie – just a quick hit.  Out to lunch, with my bestie, just one hit before I return to the office.  Okay, it’s late afternoon, I’m going to need a little more to make it until 5pm, hello bathroom selfie, you’re my savior. Look at me! I’m home, bottle of wine selfie should at least get me through the evening.

Is it a stretch to compare the desire for social feedback to our desire for work feedback?

Here’s what I know.  The more feedback you get, the more feedback you desire.  If that is the case, is your new constant feedback evaluations at work creating a monster that you’ll never be able to satisfy?  I feel like by solving one problem (lack of feedback), HR is helping to cause, or at least sustain, a bigger problem we are facing with an employee culture that is becoming overwhelmingly narcissistic.

Maybe the bigger question should be, what are we going to do with rampant narcissism that is running amok in our organizations?  Have you created Anti-Narcissism training yet in your organization?  If so, what does that entail? I’m thinking it must have some sort of aversion therapy elements (post a selfie and you get a shock from you desk chair!). Or maybe a little  public shaming, which doesn’t seem to work on Narcissist, they actually like it – ‘oh look, someone is talking about me!’

I’m not sure what I dislike more in HR – employees who spent all of their time trying not get noticed, or employees who spend all of their time trying to get noticed!





4 thoughts on “Employee Narcissism At All-Time High

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  2. Great post Tim. As an individual in the “narcissistic generation.” I have read about this quiet a bit and it concerns me from an organizational standpoint as well. Everyone wants to be heard as an individual- recognized, heard, and given a reaction. I think a lot of it comes down to discuss expectations up front, for a complete mutual understanding of the feedback loop for employees and employers. Also- if you want feedback you better come with a solution!

  3. I think this phenomenon may be triggered or heightened due to the time of year. It’s a new year, new me kinda thing.

    Interesting points though.

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