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Can There Be A Psychopaths At Your Workplace?

Dec 2, 2007
Do Psychopaths exist in the workplace? Better yet can a psychopath appear in your life at your workplace?

Psychopaths are usually seen in roles of self centered individuals who care about no one but themselves who do great harm. Their motto may well be "I don't do anything that is not in my interest and that I do not get my piece - right away". Or it may be that this deviant behavior is below the surface and never noticed or apparent.

It is often said in retrospect that the "Axe Murderer" was a quiet person who kept to himself, may have been a good family man and bothered no one.

Psychopaths are usually seen in serial killers, rapists or sadists in Hollywood movies. They appear in the media and literature. Think of an early model as the Zodiac Killer in the Bay area of San Francisco. However these same people and personalities are never expected to cross our paths in real life. Yet it is estimated that approximately 1 percent of the general population fits the mold. It's only a matter of time until you cross paths with a psychopath in real life at your workplace or place of employment.

What exactly is a psychopath? In clinical psychology a psychopath is defined as a condition characterized as a condition characterized by a lack of empathy or conscience, poor impulse control and / or manipulative behavior.

How can you determine whether a fellow worker is a workplace psychopath? A leopard does not lose their spots. Similarly psychopaths, either on the loose or under fire may well indicate or revert to certain personality traits and behaviors.

First of all does the person show no remorse no matter how much they exhibit mean behavior - whether it be victimization, talking behind the backs of fellow employees or worse and backstabbing. Is the person more than an excellent talker - a story teller of lies? Even if caught with lies and deceit do they show no remorse - just switch tack with another tale - as if everyone else is both foolish, a mark and that they are smarter than everyone else. It's as if the world is there to be plundered - for their enjoyment and pleasure. Watch for the pleasure that such people take in their deeds of trouble. Everyone makes mistakes or may be forced into situations that they would prefer not to be in. The difference is that these people relish and are proud of these deeds and events - when it should be the other way around.

Sometimes these people are loners. Some of the times they will even function in groups. It can even be family groups to rip off and plunder everyone else outside of their close (or perhaps not close and self hating) group of vagabonds and carpetbaggers. Such individuals and groups can be seen to prey on people's weaknesses and insecurities - especially low self esteem. It's as if the undertone is "If you do not do what I want .... Give me possessions or money that I want ... You cannot be part of the group ..... Or you will face abandonment."

It's not uncommon in the workplace but these people have an abnormal, almost pathological fear of failure. "I must be number one" is their constant internal motto. Along with that they may well rush to take credit for other people's work and successes. Again these traits are not those of psychopaths - yet the pattern of such behavior and personality traits along with the rest of the ball of wax should raise alarm bells in your mind.

The problem is that these psychopaths do not only negatively affect a few people in the organization. Given a level of authority in modern large corporations the effects and damage that these psychopaths can be great. If a psychopath considers everyone else, especially people they have outdone or outsmarted as downright foolish or even stupid rather than helpful souls who were taken advantage of and in addition the psychopathological culprit shows no guilt for making decisions that negatively affect the company, shareholders or employees then this is a recipe for great disaster and heartaches . Think of Tyco, Adelphia Communications, Enron and WorldCom.
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