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By | February 25, 2013 37 Comments

Doing business with a sociopath is bad business

Here’s a scary fact about the prevalence of sociopaths, also called psychopaths: Dr. Robert Hare, the psychologist who developed the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), says that approximately 1% of the general population meets his definition of a psychopath. But in a study of 200 high-potential executives, he found that 3.5% of them fit the profile of a psychopath. That means there are 3.5 times a many psychopaths in corporate offices as there are on the streets.

One of them, in my opinion, is Carl R. Greene, former executive director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA). I’ve posted several articles about him since he was fired from the agency that he ran for 12 years in August 2010.

Why was he fired? Well, there were the six sexual harassment complaints filed against him. Greene directed the agency’s lawyers and insurance company to settle three of them, for over $1 million, without informing the board of directors.

Then there was the hostile work environment Greene created. His rage was legendary. Anyone who stood up to him was fired, demoted, or relocated to some outpost in a crime-ridden neighborhood.

Then there was the “unapproved abandonment of his duties.” When the media reported that Greene’s luxury condominium was in foreclosure after he failed to pay the mortgage for five months, he stopped showing up for work. Greene disappeared for a week—no one knew where he was.

Looked the other way

The PHA board of directors apparently knew Greene was an abusive executive—after all, one employee, after being berated by him, went home and dropped dead. They may also have known about his inappropriate spending of agency funds, such as handing out $800 Tumi duffel bags to 20 staffers who attended an annual PHA conference. But they seemed to be willing to look the other way, because Greene got results.

Greene improved living conditions for thousands of Philadelphia residents. He demolished drug and crime infested high-rises and built low-rise housing that turned into stable neighborhoods. He rehabilitated many low-income homes owned by the agency. He created senior centers and job training programs.

As long as the job was being done, the board was not interested in “personnel matters.”

Lawsuit

When he was fired, Greene retaliated by hiring one of the toughest lawyers in Philadelphia to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. He originally demanded $4 million. The board of directors didn’t want to pay him anything.

The civil trial began at the end of January. It included acrimonious testimony from John Street, the former chairman of the PHA board and former Philadelphia mayor.

On Friday, February 23, the interim director of the PHA announced that a settlement had been reached. The agency would pay Carl Greene $625,000.

John Street did not support the settlement, saying it sent the “wrong message to every potential victim of sexual harassment as well as every potential perpetrator.”

So what happened? First, PHA had already spent $1 million defending itself from Greene’s lawsuit, and had exhausted the coverage provided by its insurer.

More importantly, the PHA board had itself given Carl Greene an iron-clad employment contract. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “It wasn’t enough for the agency to show that commissioners had reason to fire him. It had to also show that his behavior caused ‘demonstrable, material injury and damage to PHA.'” If the agency couldn’t prove the damage, it would have to pay the remaining years on the contract.

Read To ‘turn a page,’ PHA settled, on Philly.com.

Do not do business with a sociopath

Two years ago, I attended the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy conference. Paul Babiak, a noted industrial and organizational psychology researcher, talked about explaining the PCL-R to corporate executives. One question they often asked, Babiak said, was at what score would employees be cutthroat competitors but not steal from the company?

The audience burst into laughter. People who know sociopaths know that they can never be trusted.

Just as they are in personal relationships, sociopaths in business are aggressive, hostile, manipulative, deceitful and ethically challenged. Their infatuation with risk could drive them to bet the company—and lose. This is what happened with Enron, Worldcom, HealthSouth. Or their seemingly sterling results can be completely fabricated, as in the case of Bernie Madoff.

Do not believe you can do business with a sociopath and come out on top. Do not believe that you can work for a sociopath and emerge unscathed. Even if there is no overt wrongdoing, you’ll likely suffer from unbelievable stress.

As in personal relationships, the only sane thing to do in a business relationship with a sociopath is get out of it.


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Ox Drover

YEA, DONNA!!!!!! For sure! My husband’s company in the 1970s was destroyed by psychopaths. He “won” iin court when he sued them, but all he got back was the NAME of the company, the ASSETS were ALL gone!

Later, we ended up in business wiith one after he and I married…I had been warned by a friend, but the guy had love bombed us to the point at that time that we didn’t listen…much to our regret.

I’ve worked for several in hospitals and clinics over the years, seen one destroy a large hospital which ended up broke and bankrupt because of her.

Business is not the ONLY environment in which there is a HIGHER THAN NORMAL in my opinion…how about politics? the military? the Police? Attorneys? (99% of attorneys give the other 1% a bad name! LOL 🙂 )

Louise

Sounds like Scousepath in so many ways. Thanks for this article, Donna. Great advice.

Excellent article,Donna!I wholeheartedly agree with your concluding statement:”as in personal relationships,the only sane thing to do in a business relationship with a sociopath is get out of it.”

Ox Drover

I just got an e mail from a friend,, forwarded me a news article about her former boss who was president of a college….there is no doubt in my mind that this man is a card carrying 24 Karat gold plated psychopath—and I’ve waited 9 years to see his down fall, but he finally SHOT HIMSELF IN THE FOOT, almost literally.

Over Christmas break while we had snow on the ground here, a robber took off through the snow on foot, and the cops were chasiing him. The robber tried the knob at Mr. Prez’s house and found it open and rushed in, and went into the bathroom and hid. The cops came in and found Mr. Prez DRUNKER’N a skunk waving a gun around cursing and saying “I’m gonna kill that Farker myself!” Mr. Prez refused to give the cops the gun and he cursed them and said it is HIS house and they can go copulate each other. After the cops wrestled the gun away from him, and got the robber out of the bathroom, the story and the 21 page report made by the cops got into the newspaper and the NEXT DAY, by coincidence of course Mr. Prez resigned.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more deserving guy actually, and the State Police will be investigating him AND his concealed carry permit is HIS-TO-RY!!!!!

So a little HAPPY DANCE HERE for “another one bites the dust!” Take THAT Jerry Sandusky, OJ, Bernie Madoff, John Edwards, Tiger Woods, etc etc.

truth1

“Do not believe you can do business with a sociopath and come out on top. Do not believe that you can work for a sociopath and emerge unscathed. Even if there is no overt wrongdoing, you’ll likely suffer from unbelievable stress.

As in personal relationships, the only sane thing to do in a business relationship with a sociopath is get out of it.”
Absolutely true Donna, and thanks for raising this.

I lost everything and ended up with a lousy credit rating which I will never be free of due to my buisness dealings with a sociopath. one thing, even if these people are found out, they have such a lack of conscience that they will just carry on somewhere else with other people; I found out after I left that they managed to convince the spiritual organisation I am part of to pay for a flight ticket to a place where they were going to get medical treatment, on the basis that they would pay it back… and of course they never paid it back! This was even after I had given them the lowdown on what the sp was like, they are so convincing… in the end of course they found she didnt have the illness she was operated on for… surprise!

I even found accidentally just 2 weeks ago that they faked their address with the bank to an innocent persons address so that person is now getting calls from bailiffs for all the debts they owe. I decided to keep out of the situation, its not worth the personal hassle but it showed me that even 3 yrs after I left and exposed them, their behaviour is still the same.

fixerupper

How can we avoid doing business with sociopaths? How can we avoid dating sociopaths?

We are told every day in the media that we live in a Global Economy. Our kids are being told this every day at school. We are told that our markets and our competitors are all over the world. Signs of the application of religious and spiritual values and those that hold them seem to be harder to find.
Prayer is excluded from schools. The mainstream media is controlled by ammoral or immoral people – in my opinion. Look at the content of entertainment programming and the ‘news’. Everywhere is the glorification of instant gratification.

Which came first, the sociopaths or, the environment that fosters it?

“The meek shall inherit the earth.” Oh, really?

Think about the ‘Law of Natural Selection.’ if ruthless people are getting the jobs and making the money – chances are they will survive and procreate – at the expense of the ‘meek’. Sociopaths and other ruthless people – that have no use for ‘The Golden Rule’ will thus eventually populate the world.

Good people: We are shoveling against the tide.

Ayone out there worked or spent any other significant time overseas? You would probably see that many young ambitious educated people would love to ‘beat’ the USA – in sports, in business, in technology – in making money. Some would enjoy cutting our b @ lls off.

How do we avoid doing business with the rest of the world where ruthless practices – whether they are caused by sociopathy or not – are the norm?

I have read stories of surveys that have been done – with results that indicate that more people – and particularly more women, are cheating on their spouses and significant others. Women and men see themselves as independent self-sustaining entities that do not need to rely upon a ‘breadwinner’ or even have a supporting partner. It has been postulated that women especially are becoming primary breadwinners and spending more time at work and apparently engaging in more affairs than ever before. My sociopathic ex-gf ‘joked’ about giving the president of the company a ‘peek’ if she could wear a low-cut blouse to work and get close enough to him during a conference and bend forward at the right moment. Being in a big fancy boardroom wit nice leather chairs does that to some people. Or, maybe she was always that kind of person. Either way, my opinion of the Christian Science religion is downgraded.

The trappings of power and money have a funny effect on people – be it in politics (LOADED with sociopaths.), or business.

Louise

truth1:

They never change. I left my job almost three years ago because of the spath and you would think that would have been enough for him to step back and say whoa, but it never phased him and now last week, he was fired apparently for doing the same old things. They just keep moving on until one day they crash and burn. I know even this will not stop him. Nothing will until he either gets sick or dies.

Barb

My at-work spath presented herself as a bona fide ‘born-again’ Christian (mentioned before in LoveFraud) but obviously her impact on me was phenomenal.

She was a dangerous person who thought nothing of showing up at work in an orange neon mini-dress just to draw attention away from me. My spouse worked at the same place and was enamored of her (all the guys were with the exception of two of them who still liked me).

When she could not get the attention from the guys who remained “in lust” with me…she went after my husband. She was married too…to an equally “Christian” guy.

While peddling religious material and reading the Bible to anyone who would listen (no one approached her about this illegal activity)…she kept her tenacious control on the situation by flaunting her body, hair, and face everywhere she could and even sat at the same table in the lunch room where my hubby and I sat with our select ‘group’. Everyone welcomed her, which is the right thing to do, but my throat contracted. I started staying in my office to eat my lunch and my husband got fed up and lambasted me from the hallway…”Come out and be sociable!”

She did not fool M.A., another female in our department. M.A. would have done me a huge favor if she had approached me at work to talk about this…she called me at home after I left the company and acknowledged she had witnessed much of the activity. She also told me that the spath had taken my old seat in the cafeteria…right across from my hubby.

Clearly…this girl was a bit disturbed and very insecure. I heard she married her boyfriend and that they had a daughter. I went to the church they attended with the intention of telling the pastor about her…I am a bit ashamed to admit that I left a note to him and to the parishioners telling them the truth about this girl (and I referred to her as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’). I felt morally responsible for ‘reporting’ her behavior and felt a tinge of justification/revenge…never found out what happened.

Her behavior blindsided me and I felt helpless at work, to the point where my work deteriorated. Unfortunately I encountered this again at several other places. . .I was lucky to get a better job/closer to home after being in an even worse environment later on.

Louise

Babs:

Really sounds A LOT like the woman at my work also…a lot. Wow.

Ox Drover

How can we not “do business” or “work with” Ps? It ain’t easy that’s for sure.

But look for the signs, the red flags….if you are picking a partner, know them well, check them out financially and morally….and LISTEN TO ANY WARNINGS FROM OTHERS

If you are thinking about going to work for Mr/Ms A…well check them out, and one of the best ways is talk to 1 or 2 of the people who work with or for them.

Watch out for love bombs with people you work with.

NEVER GIVE ANYONE YOUR TRUST….make them earn iit. If someone PURSUES YOU as a “friend” be careful.

Ps at work or in business just watch for the RED FLAGS OF FRAUD…they are the same for love or not.

somebodysdream

The military is a conglamorate of sociopaths. Everytime a scandal breaks it is quickly swept under the rug or minimized by explaining various perspectives and excuses. Image experts put a lid on gross violations of conduct because the more you talk about it, the more the public may ask about accountability. We don’t want the public opinion on how we manipulate funding for our agenda. We are so high and mighty and corrupt that we just bark orders, banging “the ring” without discussion.
Reported rape is at 19%. Wrecked marriages and families because of adultery … probably double.

anam cara

The more survivors feel able to speak out, the more these scum will be exposed. Slowly……..slowly society will begin to recognise and question their toxic behaviour.
I will not be silent anymore. Not bitter, just wiser, thanks to LF.
In the last 3 years, I have re-lived my whole life (57 years) or as someone once said “overhauled my entire existence” I am still processing events and experiencing those emotions again but with a better understanding than before.
I do get lonely but have healthy boundaries now.
I sense an internal shift and I’m okay most of the time.
((Hugs)) to me. :- )

strongawoman

((anam cara))

Redwald

Speaking of sleazy, corrupt and exploitative politicians, check out this article! A whole CATALOG of British politicians’ misdeeds stretching back into the nineteenth century, with several “household names” among them:

Does “Liberal” DNA Breed Sex Scandals?

Redwald, there is no such thing as Liberal DNA.
Why would you even post such a thing?
My exspath pretended to be a liberal hippie dude when he was playing in rock bands, but as he moved his con into the helicopter business, he started quoting Rush Windbag (but not around his liberal friends).

He has a millionaire “friend” who acts liberal, S. S’s gf is a jewish doctor. They both seem liberal. Spath would talk to them and act liberal around them. But to me, he would tell me that S was moving his money out of the country to protect against the recession. He also told me that S and his gf could be easily coerced into adopting “conservative” ideals if he framed it just right. He got a kick out of making them think that he was liberal and then making them doubt their own liberal views.

Spaths don’t believe in ANYTHING. They aren’t liberal, or conservative, they’re just spaths and will flip on a dime to create chaos and animosity.

Neither conservatives or liberals are bad. Only spaths are bad and they would like us to keep their game going by picking sides. It’s all too obvious, once you’ve known a spath.

Redwald

Skylar, that’s not my headline, it’s the Daily Mail’s. They happened to focus this article on the history of the British “Liberal” Party, that’s all. There’s no cause to take the headline too seriously; the article is still a good sidelight on the misdeeds of politicians in office.

I see, Redwald.
try doing a google search on conservative psychopaths, you’ll find article after article on it.

My point is that every thing we say or do, influences others. So be careful. When you create animosity, you are doing the psychopaths work for them.

Tea Light

Redwald I don’t know if you are British or U.K. based but personally I am glad that Clegg and the Liberal hierarchy are under scrutiny for allegations of systematic failure to respond adequately to the sexual harassment allegations against Lord Rennard. (Though I can’t stomach the Daily Wail myself!).The British context of the story needs to be understood for the headline to be understood. The words liberal and conservative do not have the same cultural and political denotations and conotations as in North America. The British Liberal Party and Conservative parties are in coalition government here and are ideologically similar in many respects. The headline is in no way offensive in its British context.

Redwald

Tea Light, thanks for making that clearer to everyone. I’m in the U.S., but I read the online Daily Mail pretty often (among other news sources). I believe Oxy does too.

I have to admit, the Mail can be a depressing read. I know we’ve got our problems here in the U.S. (Doesn’t everyone?) but Britain seems to have so many more, problems of every kind—starting perhaps with the petty tyrannical bureaucrats who seem to have taken the country over and are squeezing the life out of it. My impression is that Britain has turned into a place that the British of half a century ago, say, would never have recognized. At any rate, there seems a vast gulf between the spirit of today and the spirit that won World War II. I think the British people need far more control over their government and over their politicians. And yes, the Rennard affair certainly deserves scrutiny—but up until now, as a sex scandal it seems to be dwarfed by the whole ugly mess of the Jimmy Savile conspiracy.

Speaking of political parties with names that confuse people, you may be aware that Canada has a party called the “Progressive Conservatives.” Some people find that funny; oxymoronic anyway. I don’t. I think it makes perfect sense! But that’s just my opinion… 🙂

fixerupper

You thought pedophiles in the Catholic church was a big story?

How about sociopaths in government?

Tea Light

Thanks Redward, the head shaker in the Rennard affair are the allegations that he’d proposition and harass liberal women activists at events held to encourage more women to enter politics as a career!! You can’t make these people up, can you?! Anyway mass disaffection with party politics is taking hold here(see also Italy this week lol!) The system of democracy is creaking the public is scandal weary unsuprisingly; we had a scandal 3 years ago where members of parliament’s expense claims were leaked. They included plasma TVs, silk cushions, moat cleaning, and a custom made dwelling for one MPs ducks. This week, websites visited via Parliament’s wifi were revealed including thousands of clicks by MPs and their staff on porn sites adultfriendfinder gaydar and gambling sites. :'( x

Louise

Tea Light:

Hmmmm, I think I’ll be quiet on this one…you know what I am thinking. 🙂

Tea Light

Lou, you’re switzerland! ((hug)) x some of the popular pornsites were fat fetish and foot fetish sites. Nice to know the wheels of government are turning smoothly

strongawoman

Redwald you may prefer this. Daily Mail is just in the gutter really. In my opn of course

http://www.guardian.co.uk/.

Louise

Tea Light:

I just posted this to Bluemosaic, but thought I would send it to you specifically also. I feel good about identifying this…I need to work on this…find a way to get past feeling like I need to have him tell me things…

Something just hit me a few mintues ago. I am constantly contemplating, as we all do, why? Why do I feel this way? What did he do to my mind? Why can’t I forget about this? Well, I just realized perhaps why it has been hard for me to let go. He used to tell me a lot of stuff and I mean a lot of stuff”all kind of confidential stuff from his work as an executive, his life, etc. I figured out much later it was for him to gain MY trust. That way, I would feel good and special that this executive was trusting me with this info, but I also realized just now that the tie he created with me as far as confiding things in me is what makes it hard to let go”I still want that! I think that in part explains why it has been hard for me to let go”I still want to know what is going on his life because he set me up”told me everything and then took it away. Very cruel. At least now I feel good about identifying something I need to work on in my healing.

Tea Light

Lou, he wanted you to feel there was intimacy and trust on his part so you’d drop any defenses. Horrible, and may Liverpool’s gift to womankind soon diminish in significance other than as a painful but ultimately empowering life lesson x

Tea Light

Strongawoman, I see we both enjoy a bowl of political muesli of a morning 😉 The Daily Fail, The Daily Heil .. “why oh why do Romanians all have to be theives? Why oh why do gays have to insist that they are equal to us God fearing tax payers?” and so on. And on.

Louise

Tea Light:

Apparently that is what he was doing…horrible is right. What an awful person. It’s getting closer and closer to being just a memory and life lesson…yay for me. x

You are so witty…you come up with the best stuff…where does it come from?? 🙂 x

Tea Light

Lou you are so nice. Most British people like to try and find the humour in things I think. Laughter is a tonic and it’s still free! x

Louise

Tea Light:

Awww, your post made me think of something…I think Scousepath takes the trying to find humor in things too far…he thinks everything is funny…all just a game…life is just fun and games…rarely serious about anything. But you are healthy about it…you sound like such a great person…I wish much happiness to you. x

Tea Light

I’m an ordinary person with a psycho ex and years of therapy ahead of me Lou! But you are very kind to give me that shot of lovely much needed and appreciated support, thank you love x

true2me

I am just days of discovering that I dodged the biggest bullet in the world and almost married a sociopath( 3 weeks before the wedding). I had indirectly known him through work for over 25 years. He was harming, diligent, and very professional. Over a year ago, he became the GM of one of my largest suppliers. I started dating him 6 months ago. All of a sudden my pricing dramatically improved. He announced to all our customers, vendors and my competitors that he was marrying me which in retrospect was to my detriment (with my other suppliers-competitors to him)but I was so “happy” I overlooked the potential damage to me and benefit to him. We planned strategies together as to making both our sales and profits increase. We shared list of targeted clients, products, and services with plans to mutually achieve better profits and sales.
I am very goal oriented and hardworking. He seemed to be the same AND claimed to be “just like me”
All of a sudden, (IN ONE DAY) he went from “loving me more than life itself and wanting to spend the rest of his life with me” to ” I want nothing with you” and treating me like a total stranger. (to make the story short)
We agreed that the break up would not affect our “working relationship”. I was in total shock and disbelief and could not grasp what had happened until I read the information on this site (recommended to me by a friend)
I had seen him be vindictive with certain clients, but assumed that “they did something” to merit it.
I tried to play “nice” even after he tore me into a million pieces because I feared my business could suffer from his wrath if I upset him. Within the last week, I have had three price increases, and he has approached two of the intended targets we had agreed to contact together ( he went to “our” scheduled meetings endorsing one of my competitors). I am trying to open up other avenues because I know that that is only the beginning of his attack as unwarranted as it may be!!!!!
He hides behind the “always jovial” “always laughing” “nice guy”.
I spoke to one of his employees who has been a mutual friend for years to let her know about the breakup and said to me: “you have no idea what you saved yourself from”. In fact, unbeknownst to me, a lot of his workers fear him. In fact, he has several lawsuits from previous employees active in court right now.
He has not announced that the wedding is off. When I call the receptionist still says “your wife is on the phone”. I have not said anything to any of his employees because I am afraid he will retaliate. Going above his head will only piss him off so for now it is not a choice I can consider.
Needles to say I am trying to keep things in working order, but it does not look promising. And it is very difficult to heal emotionally when I have to deal (text,email,talk) with him sometimes several times a day and pretend to be the stranger he teats me like!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stargazer

Dear true, Wow, so sorry you have this double whammy of the sociopath being in your personal and work life. Is there any way you can quit and work somewhere else? Either way, you will need some support to get through the pain of being discarded so coldly. It’s not like a normal break-up. If you choose to stay in your current work environment, you cannot show any emotion around him. But you will need nerves of steel to stay there. There are many good reasons not do date where you work, and this is one of the most devastating ones.

BTW, I love your Freudian slip in the third sentence, when you said he was “harming”. I think you meant to say “charming”.

true2me

Dear Star,
Unfortunately, it is my own business. I cannot leave. It was always my motto not to poop where I ate. And as much as I hesitated, I gave in. I can only say that I thought he was my counterpart. ( knew him and were friends forever) I believed all his promises (work and personal). This all happened less than two weeks ago. I have been devastated but I have my game face on at work!!!! I have avoided “talking” to him. Today, I had no choice. I talked to him happy and perky and he seemed to be slightly confused by my demeanor. But it took its toll on me!!

LOL….I had not caught that!!!!

Stargazer

True, I totally understand the seductive powers of a sociopath. They are SO harming (I mean charming LOL) that you find yourself breaking your own rules to date them. (Voice of experience here). If it is your business, why must you keep him on board?

And you know, never underestimate your own power in reinventing yourself and your life if you have to. Working with a sociopath every day, and especially one with whom you have been romantically involved, has got to be off the stress charts.

true2me

Unfortunately, He is the regional manager for my biggest vendor (his power trip).
But regardless, sociopath or not I believe in Karma. He has harmed a lot of people and its only a matter of time before it catches up to him!!!!!

Stargazer

Ugh. Regional manager, huh?

You are absolutely right. If you give a sociopath enough rope, he (or she) will hang him/herself. This happened with the one I dated. It actually required very little effort on my part for him to bring himself down.

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