• Helen Manson

Do you suspect your boss or colleague to be a psychopath?

The term 'psychopath' is thrown around alot at the moment, but if you work with one, it can ruin your work life and potentially, your career.

We're not ones to label - it's impossible to put any one into a box and leave them there - but it may help those struggling to understand their boss's behaviour if they have some insight into the reason for their behaviour.

Ask yourself this:

Do they demonstrate any of these psychopathic traits:

  • superficial charm;

  • a grandiose notion of self-worth;

  • the need for stimulation and impulsiveness;

  • pathological lying;

  • the ability to manipulate others; and

  • a lack of remorse and empathy.

It's surprising isn't it, to realise a combination of any of the above traits - which individually are relatively harmless - actually define psychopathic behaviour.

Below is the list of professions ranked as having the highest number of psychopaths (courtesy of author, Eric Baker):

1. CEO

2. Lawyer (apologies to our lovely clients - we didn't put this list together!)

3. Media (Television/Radio)

4. Salesperson

5. Surgeon

6. Journalist

7. Police officer

8. Clergy person

9. Chef

10. Civil servant

Some further considerations:

Psychopaths tend to do a lot of acting to deceive, or mimic normal reactions, sometimes changing their views and reactions quickly.

For example, self-professed psychopath Jacob Wells said that upon meeting someone, he tries to become 'the most interesting person they know' and presumably adopts suitable interests and responses to do this.

Generally psychopaths' 'emotions' are shallow and short-lived and there is a manipulative ulterior motive to showing them.

For example, Mr Wells said he offers to do favours and tells false secrets to people to gain their complete trust.

He says: 'I keep secrets, and tell them fake secrets to further gain their trust, and once they trust me enough, I ask for favours, reminding them of the favours I did them. I can get literally anything from them, which is incredibly useful.'

Does Jacob sound like some-one you work with?

Well, at least there may be a reason for their behaviour. It doesn't make it right though.

If you feel like you're being treated unfairly, you probably are, even if you're being made to feel like you're the one with the problem.

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