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Hire a psychopath

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HC Online | 20 Apr 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Scientists have said individuals with some psychopathic traits – such as being ruthless and callous – might actually be good for business.
  • Bernie Althofer | 20 Apr 2012, 02:05 PM Agree 0
    Maybe it is a bit like being a successful police officer - one has to think like a criminal but not act like one.

    It will be interesting what conjectures or reasonings are offered as to why a person can be a successful psychopath in an office environment. It might well be the case that assumptions are made that all those psychopathic tendencies are 'mad, bad and dangerous' as has been suggested in another forum. However, it might well be true that in those in the office environment can apply the psychopathic behaviours in a positive manner, there may well be some benefits. However, it seems that most of the comments being made tend to suggest that those with psychopathic tendencies in the workplace should be avoided at all costs.

    Personally, I would like to see some more research and discussion about this topic. This topic comes up on a regular basis when discussing counterproductive workplace behaviours such as bullying and harassment. Are corporate psychopaths people who should be feared, or do they have some skills or abilities that could be better applied?
  • Chris Golis | 20 Apr 2012, 04:19 PM Agree 0
    I have blogged extensively about corporate psychopaths in my blog and written about them in my book The Humm Handbook: Lifting Your Level of Emotional Intelligence. Learning how to recognise corporate psychopaths in 60 seconds and how to manage them both upwards and downwards is a critical people skill that I teach in my workshops. Most participants say it is one of the most useful skills they learn. And just like Dr Essi Vidling they start adopting some of the behaviours as they recognise for many management positions it is a critical component in their personality.
  • K Cantwell | 20 Apr 2012, 04:33 PM Agree 0
    Having worked with one - he was a franchisor, I was a franchisee - they can be extremely dangerous. It was more important to him to maintain the appearance that everything was going well, and to divert blame for problems, than to save the entire business network. Everyone should learn how to recognise key traits and know to tread carefully around these 'snakes in suits'.
  • Margaret Fisher | 20 Apr 2012, 04:37 PM Agree 0
    In my experience, psychopathic behaviour covers a wide spectrum. That is the syndrome covers everything from the con man to the axe murders and and I am doubtful this can be recognised in 60 seconds in the corporate world. Typically the most charming of managers will likely deceive most of us. I agree however that they are also people of great potential particularly in the sales environment. The challenge is to manage the unmanageable and capture that potential.
  • Charlie Brown | 20 Apr 2012, 05:10 PM Agree 0
    I have worked with a couple of people who fit this profile. Whilst initially they are impressive and achieve, their lying and unacceptable treatment of subordinates eventually requires their removal, usually after considerable damage has been done to efficiency and morale. On rechecking their resumes they show relatively short tenure in previous positions.
  • Bernie Althofer | 24 Apr 2012, 02:31 PM Agree 0
    There is another issue involved in this and that is - how long does take for a 'good person' to turn into a 'bad person', or even one who can lie with the best of them? There is a book called "The Lucifer Effect" that goes some way into explaining these issues.
    Perhaps it is a bit more complex than we would like it to be. Sometimes, one has to question the environment that allows such behaviours or practices to develop and then to grow.
  • Sebastian Harvey | 27 Apr 2012, 03:05 PM Agree 0
    I hope Dr Viding's comments were tongue in cheek. Otherwise I would not want to work in her department! Workplace psychopaths cannot perform in a sustainable way and do untold damage, regardless of any positive traits they may have. For a very good analysis of workplace psychopaths and how they differ from other types of psychopath, read 'Working with Monsters' by John Clarke (Random House, 2005).
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