Working with a narcissist is hard, but mentoring one can be especially challenging. Your instinct as a mentor may be to criticize the narcissist, to put them in their place, but this typically makes a self-absorbed person defensive — prompting even more problematic behavior. Try some empathy instead: Recognize that narcissism is often a byproduct of insecurity, then work hard to convey affirmation and understanding. You might say things like, “We’re really lucky to have you here. It must be hard when others don’t seem to appreciate your contributions.” And position your mentee’s problematic qualities in a positive way. For example, you could frame arrogance and entitlement as unusually high self-confidence. By demonstrating respect and acceptance, you can lower the person’s defenses, opening the door to meaningful dialogue and greater self-awareness.
Adapted from “How to Mentor a Narcissist,” by W. Brad Johnson and David G. Smith