I think we are all entitled to some basics in our working environment; to be rewarded fairly for our contributions, to work safely, to be allowed to act ethically, amongst others. There are some people who, however, hold an exaggerated sense of entitlement. They might feel they have a right to be given things which others believe should be obtained through effort. They expect favorable treatment. They can expect others to automatically comply with their wishes. Working with or managing the entitled can be demanding for colleagues and managers alike.
Where the sense of entitlement is greater we are talking about narcissism. Narcissist behaviors can be particularly difficult to deal with. From my own experience and from researching on this article I have heard many stories of the destructive impact that narcissists can have on colleagues, managers, teams and even entire businesses.
How do you recognize and deal with somebody who lives with a sense of entitlement or has a narcissistic personality disorder?
Here’s a story I have heard many times about programmers.
“I asked Joe to write a simple bit of code to do <xyz>. It should have taken a few hours, maybe a day at worst. He took several days, he wrote a general framework that was far more complicated than we needed. Why does he keep over-engineering his code?”
It could be that Joe is an Abstract Oriented Programmer. Here’s a few snowclones…
If you often over-engineer your software, you might just be an Abstract Oriented Programmer.
If you spend more time thinking about tomorrow’s problems than today’s, you might just be an Abstract Oriented Programmer.
If you love looking for deeper patterns, get thrills from unconscious insight or talk in analogies, you might just be an Abstract Oriented Programmer.
Today I step cautiously into the realm of the “Alpha Geek” and of team hierarchies, power and dominance behaviors amongst programmers.
Hierarchies, or the “Pecking Order“, are part of human social life just as they are a part of animal life. Any social hierarchy implies that there is dominance. Dominance is achieved through behavior. Gorillas beat their chest; chickens peck; grizzly bears stand on their hind legs.
I’ve never seen chest beating (literally) or pecking in a programming environment. But I’ve seen plenty of people stand up to exert authority and many other forms of dominance behavior.
So there is no confusion, it is not my objective to provide a how-to guide for dominant behaviour. This post is about recognizing dominant behavior and today we start with audience behavior at presentations.