– Recap –

Picking up from yesterday, we have all been confronted with a boss who has been less than encouraging when assisting us with our career paths, regardless of whether we are pursuing opportunities in the same company.  Typically these people are labeled everything from “Type-A” to “insert appropriate four letter word here,” but is something more significant occurring?

– Psychopaths –

Despite being a few years old, I believe this is a topic that needs to be readdressed at least once, if not twice a year and even then kept in the back of the mind.  A growing body of research (B-SCAN 360) is beginning to confirm what many of us have long suspected, there is a psychopath in the corner office. 

As many as one in 100 adults in the workplace is a psychopath, according to the forthcoming “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work” by Robert D. Hare, professor emeritus in psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and Paul Babiak, a New York-based industrial-organizational psychologist.

Though these people lack the violent tendencies which separate them from their prison bound counterparts they do exihibit the following tendencies:

  • lack of remorse or empathy
  • shallow emotions
  • manipulativeness
  • lying
  • egocentricity
  • glibness
  • low frustration tolerance
  • episodic relationships
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • persistent violation of social norms

Unfortunately, these traits have allowed them to excel in the corporate environment by giving the impression of charm and self-confidence.  If you are constantly made to feel like an object, a means to an end, you might be dealing with an office psychopath. 

– Narcissist –

There is a fine line between the office sociopath and the narcissist.  Whereas the psychopath does not have the capacity to experience empathy with those around them, narcissist do, though it may not seem that way on the surface.  These managers exude the notion that where their subordinates may feel some temporary pain and suffering, it is their duty to worship and serve.  Several question how employees will tolerate this type of behavior.  Daniel Goleman has part of the answer.

In his 2006 book, Social Intelligence, Goleman states that narcissists use

“their selective capacity for sensing what someone might be thinking can be quite incisive, and they seem to rely on this social cunning to make their way in the world.”

It is impossible to tell whether this line of research will have any lasting impact on human resources, hiring practices and succession planning.  Given the desirable traits that are often associated with these psychologies, the negative aspects are sometimes completely ignored.  In the mean time if this your boss, you may want to consider seeking employment elsewhere.

Is this your boss?  If so, run!

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