Even though you may have little interest in having narcissistic friends, narcissists can make good business partners. After all, confidence and an inflated sense of self often drive these individuals to produce successful business results. Working closely with a narcissist may cause inevitable conflicts to arise, however.
While some narcissists exhibit extreme behaviors, others fall somewhere along a spectrum. If your business partner has narcissistic tendencies, you may want to employ three tactics to better manage your professional relationship.
1. Spend time on your partnership agreement
Even under ideal circumstances, you do not want to rush into a business partnership. By spending significant time negotiating and drafting your partnership agreement, you set realistic expectations for everyone in the partnership. You also may gauge which parts of your narcissistic partner’s personality may cause future problems.
2. Understand each partner’s strengths and weaknesses
While your partnership agreement may dictate which partners are responsible for specific partnership tasks, you should try to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Put simply, if you have a narcissist as a business partner, you may as well take advantage of his or her drive. Keeping the partner away from tasks that require empathy and other interpersonal skills may also be a good idea.
3. Use your dispute resolution procedure
Planning your interactions with a narcissistic business partner may minimize conflict. Eventually, though, due to your partner’s personality or something else, you are likely to have a disagreement. By putting a comprehensive dispute resolution procedure in your partnership agreement, you know exactly what steps you need to take to end the conflict.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If collaborating with a narcissistic partner is in your business interests, any effort you put into managing the relationship is likely to pay off for both you and your business venture.