Randi G. Fine interviews our CEO, Kristin Walker, about corporate narcissism on A Fine Time for Healing. It’s her second time on Randi’s show and she gets into it again about workplace trauma.
As I’ve done more radio shows with experts like Randi G. Fine on the topic of narcissism, I have certainly evolved in my education around the disorder. What I see in organizations where leadership has created a toxic work environment is the prevalence of health issues from mental decline, eating disorders, anxiety, PTSD, etc. Narcissism breeds bullying so imagine a work environment where you are literally in “eat or be killed” mode and something as important as your paycheck is involved. This doesn’t lend to a team spirit environment.
There are always what I refer to as the characters in the Narcissistic Leaders game:
The cheerleader: This can be several people, always in rotation, and is the most prized position but also the most dangerous. The cheerleader is the loudest voice in the narcissists ear and always the person(s) endlessly praising and maintaining the “goodness” of their all and powerful Oz.
The star: This is anyone new: either a partner that will bring in revenue or a new employee. The cheerleader is overthrown constantly for “the star” and constantly on guard to keep “the star” from finding out their boss is actually Satan. The star is admired and hated by the toxic leader and will be beheaded when they inevitably lose some of their shine as time goes on. This is a person who can do no wrong and is love bombed in order to bring them into the drama, get them hooked into a toxic bond, and then either managed down into compliance or thrown out of the company.
The doldrums: These are malleable apathetic folk that are easily managed down but do massive dirty work on behalf of their toxic leader. The leader has zero respect for these people but keeps them around in order to keep his/her hands clean when the star or the cheerleader need to be put back into a manageable place.
Like the toxic village elder that wants no children to go to school lest they become smarter than he or she, narcissistic leaders keep their staff in an ever rotating pole position of ambiguity, gaslighting, love bombing, and paranoia. If anyone other than the leader shines too brightly this results in massive narcissistic injury. A beheading is commonplace and the longer the staff continue on in this environment the harder it will be for them to leave. They do take on the traits of their leader and live in a sheltered yet grandiose bubble of superiority: a ship of fools.
Kristin Sunanta Walker is the host of Mental Health News Radio and Mental Health After Dark. She is also the CEO of everythingEHR, a company dedicated to working within the Behavioral Health technology space helping vendors and mental health organizations create and utilize incredible tools for excellent patient care. Her radio shows cover all aspects of Behavioral Health, however the shows on the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are downloaded in over 170 countries, clearly showing the epidemic has reached global levels. It is her mission to make Narcissistic Victim Syndrome an officially recognized yet treatable disorder.