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Job Recruitment: Working for Napoleon

Job Recruitment: Working for Napoleon, Anyone that ever worked for a person with a Napoleon complex knows all too well that the fairy tale, The Emperor With No Clothes, is a workplace nightmare. The emperor parading around in the buff is painfully similar to the exhausted employees of these tyrants. However, instead of pretending that their superior, I mean supervisor is wearing pants, they spend most of their working day cleaning up “accidents” left behind their supervisor as if they too aren’t wearing any. If this doesn’t already stink enough, the employees are berated and ridiculed for not cleaning up the “accidents” fast enough instead of being thanked. And by the way, the employees are rarely if ever thanked for anything. Not only are these employees not noticed for clearing up matters that go unnoticed by their supervisor, but their supervisor also notices every mistake made by them. They work in a culture in which the supervisor is incapable of making errors. This results in a top-down approach to chastising and a bottom-up funnel of praise. Since there is no I in the team, the work environment feels more like a monarchy than a team. If you Working for Napoleon, here are three tips to survive until you can thrive in a new role.

1. Avoidance

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Avoidance: If you’re not the brown-nose type, one of the best ways to deal with work Napoleon is not to deal with him. Avoid him as much as possible. If you do have to interact with him, do not engage with him alone. When things go sour, which they will, you’ll have a witness when you’re told you’re misinformed when in fact, you weren’t informed at all.

2. Praise

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Praise: If Napoleon’s EQ was as high as his ego, he would actually be a pretty cool dude. Now, this is where Working for Napoleon actually prefers to work in teams because praising him is a team effort. If you’re just trying to make it through the day without being a target, you can never say thanks, good job, or awesome too many times.

3. Play Dead

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Play Dead: Since there’s no such thing as a dialogue with a dictator, your perspectives are not only unwelcome but can easily come across as a challenge to a super-inflated ego. Agree with Napoleon as much as possible. If agreeing with Napoleon can have consequences, provide an alternative in the form of a question so he still maintains control. If he decides against the alternative, document thoroughly and summarizes the monologue in an email to him afterward.

While these are survival tactics to treat someone with a short man complex, these are not very practical for your emotional well-being long-term.
While you’re in survival mode, be actively seeking a place where you can thrive and be noticed for the right things through a video résumé or instant chat with a potential employer on CruitScout.com. To avoid working for another Napoleon, check out how CruitScout’s scoping service can help you find a position that doesn’t require you to walk on eggshells.