7 Effective Ways To Spot a Psychopath at Work

7 Effective Ways To Spot a Psychopath at Work

There are more psychopaths than you think. In his book, Robert Hare points out 1 out of 100 people meet the criteria for psychopathy. Although not every intelligent, charming, successful and high-energy person is a psycho, the chance to have the psychopath at the workplace is quite high.
So how to spot the psychopath at the workplace?
In this article, I will show 7 effective ways to spot the psychopath in your workplace.

The Careers with High Proportion of Success Psychopaths

According to Kevin Dutton, a British psychologist and writer, there are ten careers which have the highest numbers of psychopaths:

  1. CEO
  2. Lawyer
  3. Media
  4. Salesperson
  5. Surgeon
  6. Journalist
  7. Police officer
  8. Clergy
  9. Chef
  10. Civil servant

On the other hand, a study from Australia shows that one in five corporate executives are psychopaths.

This sounds scary. So how to spot a psychopath at the workplace?

Checklist 1: Egocentric / Narcissistic

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A psychopath believes that everything is around him (Credit: Giphy.com)

The psychopaths see themselves as the centre of everything. They always like to justify things in their own rules, even though people do not agree with them. It is because they believe they are very important.

They can pretend in the difference way, too. They can act as considerate, helpful, concern for other people. But, they are completely self-interested. Although it is very difficult to spot on right away, their pattern in both their personal and corporate lives are often short. The relationship is often terminated without any warning once you are not useful to them.
If your employer has been known to fire people for no reason, believe that s/he has better skills, more valuable than anyone else, you should be aware or should consider moving on.

Checklist 2: Lack of responsibility

When the psychopaths say they will do something, it does not mean that they actually will do the tasks. According to Hare, “Obligations and commitments mean nothing to psychopaths. Their good intentions are promises written on the wind.”

Checklist 3: Control Freak

The psychopaths like to move people around or have unnecessary rearrangements of the workplaces. It is because they want to micro-manage or control and manipulate other people. So they are attracted to certain positions where they can influence others.

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At the workplace, senior management is the best place for the psychopaths to practice such behaviour.

(The scary thing: They can even monitor employees’ toilet breaks.)

Checklist 4: Charming

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A psychopath can be very charming (Credit: Giphy.com)

Psychopaths can be very clever. They are good at making first impressions.

They know well the value of turning on the charm at the early stage and then slowly turning it off. Their ultimate goal is to make you doubt yourself and feel less valuable at the workplace.

Checklist 5: Great Acting Skills

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A psychopath can be good at acting (Credit: giphy.com)

The psychopaths are the best and brilliant actors in the workplace. They can act scared, surprised, or sorry in order to control other people if it can help them in different situations.

If someone at the workplace who has an extreme emotion then quickly returns to normal, you might need to think whether this person really feels anything at all.

Checklist 6: Dishonesty

Have you often experienced your employer by “misunderstandings”, “wrong assumptions”, “false starts”?

The psychopaths often start lying about everything, and they do not know when to stop. Unlike others, they do not care if someone notices their lies. It is because they can lie to cover up.

Checklist 7: Unrealistic Long Term Goal

When someone at your workplace wants to be a president within a few years or wants to travel to the planet Mars within 10 years, you may need to be aware.
According to Hare, the psychopaths struggles to accomplish their goals because they are bad planners, but they others to rise for them. In a similar way, Andrew Faas who is a former senior executive with two largest retail organisations in Canada, says that “though the task may be impossible to do, psychopaths justify it because, in their limited view, it’s a reasonable goal.”

Also published on Medium.