A corporate psychopath/sociopath has the ability to present themselves as the dream employee, but once they are let in they eventually become nightmares. They are excellent actors, but in reality; they are truly callous people who lack empathy and have no conscience.
Corporate psychopaths will quickly assess other employees and place them into 3 distinct categories:
* The people who will protect and help them...
* The people who could mess their game up...
* The people who can be used by them achieve their goals otherwise known as victims.
Researching this subject has helped me. You see I fall into the third category. I was a victim twice in the same company. I learned there is no protection for the victims. I tried to get help and was eventually driven to go. This is how good the corporate psychopath is! As victims we suffer mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. It was a brutal life lesson and it cost me dearly!
Professor Robert Hare; who is considered an expert in this field, estimates that there are approximately 300,000 psychopaths in Canada alone, a small percentage of them are violent criminals. The following is a list of eight warning signs of the corporate psychopath as identified by Professor Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak. I have included my real life observations:
*Glibness and superficial charm
Has a smile for everyone, and compliments everything from your clothes to your jewelery, will put down others behind their backs but are charming and friendly to their faces. Having everyone like them is a very important part of their game plan.
*Grandiose sense of self-worth
The way they dress for the office is always over the top, they have a very high opinion of themselves, and others should be honored that they speak to them!
They will lie straight to your face, they will deny the truth and have no shame when they are caught in fact, will claim ignorance or just blow it off as insignificant or turn everything around so that they look like the victim.
*Conning and manipulation
They are experts at controlling people and will use anything at their disposal in order to influence people, from revealing a confidence to threatening job loss; they constantly seek information under the guise as caring.
*Lack of remorse or guilt
They don't care if what they say or do hurts others, they laugh about it, apologies are a form of damage control only, they are very good at pretending to feel bad. They will not hesitate to rat out other employees to upper management.
These people can cry at the drop of a hat, they are the first to applaud in meetings, they hug and kiss others both male and female, and they are very dramatic the whole office knows when they are happy or sad.
*Callousness and lack of empathy
They don't care about people, they are usually in the position to know the personal details of other employee's and feel no sympathy for other people's pain, they will use that personal knowledge to manipulate the employee in any way possible.
*Failure to accept responsibility for one's actions
It is always someone else's fault. They seem to follow the reasoning of "Do as I say not as I do", if their bad behaviors cause someone hurt or loss they blame the victim.
By recognizing the above common traits it is my hope that you can save yourself heartache later. Psychopaths do not see where they are wrong. Their victims ultimately meet the real person. Usually the victim is by this point so stressed and hurt they either go on stress leave or exit the company altogether. Leaving the psychopath to do damage control by ensuring everyone is aware that the victim was not a very good employee and they are not surprised that they couldn't hack it. They have no remorse or regret; they are actually delighted with themselves and happily move on to the next victim.
They are truly vile and vindictive individual's who despise everyone. The play a very vicious game and only other psychopaths can appreciate the victory. They band together occasionally, to attain a common goal, but the end result is always the same. They have no loyalty to anyone but themselves.
A lot of the traits displayed by corporate psychopaths are encouraged by upper management. They look great on paper, these people come across as displaying excellent leadership potential, they are aggressive and will do whatever is necessary to get the job done. High level management is so far removed from the day to day running of the business, so as long as the bottom line is met then the ends justify the means. In today's cut throat corporate environment psychopath's thrive. In a world of constant downsizing and change these individual's are in their element. For these people more chaos equals increased opportunities to play their games. They are thrilled to be in the position to watch other people lose.
Unfortunately there is no known cure for psychopaths. The typical corporate type invariably comes from a middle class background and has not suffered significant childhood trauma. It is interesting to note that psychopaths are not as prevalent in Asian cultures where people are taught to be more community minded. I feel that identification is the key. Awareness is vital as these people will never stop their destructive patterns. Having endured firsthand the experiences of a victim; I can certainly see why work-related stress is so wide spread and why the use of anti-depressants is at an all time high. I have a clearer understanding of how an individual can be driven to the point of committing a violent act against a fellow worker especially if that worker is a 'snake in a suit'.
Is there any hope for the millions of potential victims of the corporate psychopath? There is a test that may help to decrease the numbers. Professor Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak who wrote the book Snakes in Suits, have created the Business Scan 360 that is 111 point questionnaires that can help Human Resource departments identify these people. The test is completed by people who work with the potential psychopath.
Every day thousands of good employees are being victimized by the corporate psychopath. It should be the responsibility of every corporation to safeguard their people. The information is available and the numbers indicate that this is a very serious problem. What will it take for the decision makers to realize that? Perhaps if Corporations had to pay restitution to the victims we might see some positive changes made. After all from a corporate viewpoint; change will only come about if it has a negative effect on the bottom line!