Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents 20 TEACHER APRIL 2011
Workplace psychopaths account for perhaps
three per cent of the workforce and are prob-
ably increasing as bad behaviour is rewarded,
according to coach and careers counselling
specialist Alicia Karwat, but what does this
newest demon of the workplace look like?
The defining characteristic of the work-
place psychopath is a lack of self knowledge.
In short, and to borrow the words of Jesus,
'they know not what they do,' although that
doesn't necessarily mean you should forgive
The workplace psychopath's lack of self
knowledge doesn't mean that they're un-
intelligent. Far from it; their actions are
often highly adaptive, self-serving and intel-
ligent. For them, the means are justified by
the ends and those means include isolation,
humiliation and psychological tortu re of
'their' staff or colleagues.
What does a workplace psychopath
If you can identify at least five of the fol-
lowing behaviou rs in a colleague, you've
probably got a workplace psychopath in
Lack of empathy Workplace psycho -
paths use their skills to exploit, abuse
and exert power without understanding
or accommodating the situation of those
THE BAD NEWS, ACCORDING TO WENDY EVANS, IS THAT THERE'S
PROBABLY A PSYCHOPATH IN YOUR WORKPLACE; THE GOOD
NEWS, THOUGH, IS THAT YOUR BEST DEFENCE AGAINST THEM IS
A HEALTHY DOSE OF FRATERNITY AND COLLEGIALITY.
and how to deal with them
Pathological lying Workplace psycho-
paths have no problem lying coolly, some-
times looking like they can't personally
distinguish between fact and fiction.
Superficial charm Workplace psycho-
paths use charm and smooth talk like oil
on troubled waters to pacify their peers or,
more importantly, their superiors.
Manipulation Workplace psychopaths
exercise Machiavellian cunning.
Grandiose sense of self Workplac e psy-
chopaths have large egos, use their ego in
pursuit of their 'legitimate rights' and have
a me-versus-the-world view of things.
An absolute lack of remorse, shame or
guilt Enough said.
Emotionally shallow responses to those
around them See 'lack of empathy' and
'grandiose sense of self' above.
Dominating behaviour Wo rkpla c e psy-
chopaths expect unconditional control and
are very demanding of those around them,
expecting them to feel guilt for their failings.
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