Whould you hire a psychopath?

Psychopaths have some stunning traits but can they be used in a good way?

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How to spot a psychopath at work

The reason psychopaths are in the spotlight again are new developments in neuroscience that help us look into the brains of human beings. Therefore, psychopathy is no longer a myth, but we know that the brain of the psychopath is completely different from the brain of normal people.

We don't encounter the psychopath only on TV or behind bars after committing a horrible crime. Even if many psychopaths are in prison, committing the worst crimes imaginable, some live quite normal lives and their predatory instincts are displayed in their interactions at work.

When you deal with a psychopath at work, usually you don't have any idea at all who you are dealing with and you might end up hurt and humiliated. According to professor Hare, psychopaths are considered to have very good communication skills but they're poor achievers. They talk, while others to the job.

Professor Babiak identified three types of psychopaths we deal with at work:

1. The Cons use their voice to manipulate people. They are verbally very fluent, manipulative, and they're good readers of people, so they tell a good story. They're entertaining and mix falsehood with truth, and they get people to do things for them by conning them.

2. The Bully might start out by using the conning and manipulative techniques, but when they don't get their way, they tend to escalate a little, and start using dominance and force to get what they want.

3. The Puppet Master is the master of them all, having the wide repertoir of psychopathic traits, but what makes them so interesting is that they get other people to do their dirty work. So the puppet master pulls the strings on a small group of individuals who are loyal to him or her.

Psychiatrist Hare has a difficult time accepting that some companies would try hiring these types of so called "successful psychopaths" and prefers to call them "sub criminal psychopaths" because they manage to destroy a lot of people's lives. Many times their self-serving actions have an impact on a whole society and they act without any particular concern or remorse. There is no empathy for anyone, and they do things often without any risk to themselves. They are not betting their own lives, money, careers, but they're betting other people's future and the results can sometimes be disastrous.

Far more evil is the fact that psychopathy doesn't seem to stop at the work place. Parents and even children of the psychopath are often conned and manipulated.

Here are a few quick ways to identify psychopaths at work:

1. Charm that is switched on and off. These guys sometimes love you and you are the center of their attention while two seconds later, you mean nothing to them.

2. They take credit for your work and your co-worker's work. It's not unusual for them to create a bond to the boss and tell them they're the reason everything is going so well, claiming their competence was crucial even if in reality someone else, a non-psychopath, came up with all the ideas and did all the work.

3. They are extremely self-serving and won't do anything that doesn't benefit them personally.

Both Hare and Babiak, experts in psychopathy, both in corporations and in jails, claim that there are both female and male psychopaths. Female psychopaths end up misdiagnosed by psychiatrists as histrionic, because they manage to play the female gender role card well. They're though as dangerous as the male psychopaths are. Female psychopaths in prison commit approximately the same cold blooded calculated crimes as male psychopaths do. There is no difference in the cruelty of the crime.

In the work environment, both female and male psychopaths also excel by creating intrigues between co-workers and destroying cooperation and friendship among those who work in a certain department. Some of them manage to use the corporation they work for in their own self-interest and walk out of there leaving it in ruins and problems, and yet manage to create the impression that they had nothing to do with it. Often, the person that would try to sort these problems are, identifying the psychopathic person as the source of the problem, no matter how good their intentions are, ends up being stigmatized as the troublemaker.

Indeed if psychopaths would as Dutton wishes, use their best traits in the situations where they are really needed in the right way, psychopaths could indeed be able to be of service to society and corporations and in many areas of society. Usually though they do not manage to make the difference.


Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work Copyright © 2006 by Paul Babiak, Ph.D., and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. Babiak, Paul; Hare, Robert D.

The Psychopath Next Door (2014) - ( Documentary )


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