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Could Your Co-worker Actually Be A Psychopath?

More and more, it seems like your co-worker gets a perverse sense of satisfaction from psychologically obliterating everyone else in the office. You're starting to wonder if he or she might be a psychopath. Well, you might just be right.

I follow international workplace news -- it's fun to travel internationally, even if it's only in my head -- and one thread I've been following lately is the spate of stories in the international media about dealing with workplace psychopaths. Australian psychotherapist John Clarke is telling companies to be on the lookout for them, because they're way more common than we'd like to think. Up to 3% of average employees could have the inability to feel for other people and take enormous enjoyment in seeing them suffer. As Dr. Clarke said at a recent conference:

"The workplace psychopath is somebody who psychologically destroys the people they work with to feed their need for a sense of power and control and domination over other human beings.

"They don't suffer any guilt or remorse, or in fact they enjoy the suffering of other people."

Clarke consults companies that have had psychopaths on staff, and he's watched their co-workers suffer from anxiety and depression or go on to commit suicide.

Workplace psychopaths can be hard to identify, but smoking them out starts with the hiring process because workplace psychopaths tend to lie and exaggerate on resumes and in interviews. So better background checking can help screen them out. The problem is, once hired they can be pretty good at faking a good job except for the I-want-to-mentally-torture-you part. And oddly enough, they can also be well-liked.

Psychopaths, however, do not tend to rise to the top of the corporate structure. Instead, they float around laterally spreading their unique brand of misery. Just hope they don't work directly with you and start to manipulate and isolate you from your peers.

Don't worry, because the Australian breakfast shows have got this one covered. Let's go to the video tape!

How to deal with workplace psychopaths (Breakfast Channel 10, March 2012) from Suzie Plush on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this blog about psychopaths in the work place. I believe I have a co-worker who may in fact be a psychopath. Her name is Georgia.
    I have no idea why my boss hired her. Our jobs require us to have a valid driver's license and Georgia does not have one but somehow she got hired anyways. At first, no one was a big fan of her but now it seems like more and more people in the office like her and will do anything that she asks. One of my other co-workers gives her rides around the city to help her get her job finished.
    Georgia is not good at her job. I can tell this and so can Lucy, another one of my co-workers. And yet somehow Georgia manages to get our boss to look the other way.
    Many times Georgia has attempted to usurp me and take over my position. Fortunately, I know a con when I hear one and I make sure that she doesn't get what she wants. Recently, Georgia and one other person convinced our boss to have positivity meetings where we have to compliment someone else's work. The only one in my office who complimented me was our boss. I think Georgia may be trying to isolate me from the rest of my co-workers. I still have Lucy though. Lucy is one of those types who don't take any crap from anyone and isn't afraid to tell them so.
    Does it sound like Georgia may be a psychopath? If so, what should I do to deal with her? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Georgia has a huge ego and thinks that she is the most wonderful and most talented person on the earth. She even made up a Facebook page dedicated to how awesome she thinks she is.

    ReplyDelete

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