Is Your Boss a Psychopath?

He or she might not actually murder you, but they will stab you in the back when you least expect it. Corporate psychopaths, as they are known in business circles, are on the increase, and although not technically psychopaths, are certainly responsible for extreme stress levels in the workplace. Perhaps you work for one.

Although most of these people would be classified as suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the term “corporate psychopath” has caught on. As with any narcissist, the corporate psychopath can be charming and gregarious, but it’s all superficial and used to project an image. There is an inability to feel real empathy for fellow employees and they have an inability to form deep and meaningful relationships with anyone.

With increasing use of email and text messages, it is even easier for these “psychopaths” to control and manipulate people without having to engage in face-to-face dealings. So how do you know whether you have a corporate psychopath in your workplace?

  1. S/he takes your ideas and claims them as their own.
    This is typical behavior for the narcissist. Their ability to delude themselves means that they actually believe that the idea is theirs and use their manipulative charm to derail any of your attempts to claim ownership.
  2. S/he is deluded and not in touch with the reality of the office environment.
    Due to this lack of insight, the corporate bully is able to disregard even the most basic rules of office etiquette without remorse.
  3. S/he cannot feel compassion, empathy, remorse, or guilt. However if their own reputation and position required them to display these attributes, they are capable of mimicking them.
  4. S/he displays poor impulse control, often bombarding you with emails which they will later retract, but with apologizing for any hurt or inconvenience. Anger is never far away if they are questioned, and can go from being your “best buddy” to being cold, aloof and domineering within the space of an email.
  5. The person is reluctant to take personal responsibility for their own mistakes and will blame others, or even you, if you are the one who brought the matter to their attention. They also exhibit haughty self-righteousness when questioned.

So, what can you do to protect yourself against these corporate bullies? In the next blog, we will look at solutions to working with psychopathic leaders.

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