The cover photo of Fortune Small Business magazine’s March issue is a guy sitting on top of a water cooler. He’s wearing a red striped shirt and a blue and red tie. He has red horns popping out of his bald head. The topic: “Employees from hell.”
One of the cover stories is about The turncoat No. 2 who tries to take over the business. A woman who started a company hired a guy, called Benedict Arnold in the story, as her second-in-command. After about a year, she noticed that Arnold was inflating his expenses, taking two- and three-hour lunches, and showing up late for important meetings.
She was about to discipline him when Arnold dropped his own bomb. He told her she had to resign from her own company.
Arnold had spent the year trashing the owner with her employees and investors. He accused her of being crazy. He collected “evidence” about how she was supposedly mismanaging the business. He insinuated that the books were cooked.
She fired him. Was Arnold upset? No—he continued to use her as a reference.
The story describes Arnold’s lies, manipulation, audacity, sense of entitlement and lack of remorse. In other words, the story describes a psychopath.
Snakes in Suits
There are many, many psychopaths who are capable of holding down jobs. Lovefraud has heard of psychopaths who are doctors, computer programmers, mental health professionals, military officers, clergy and more. Still, they are terrible employees—or bosses.
Snakes in Suits, by Paul Babiak, Ph.D., and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., is about psychopaths in the workplace. The authors write about their behavior: They manipulate and intimidate. They steal from the organization. They get other people to do their work, and then take credit. They lie and cut corners. They cause havoc among other employees. They ignore professional ethics.
Dr. Robert Hare asserts that one percent of the population fits his description of a psychopath. In Snakes in Suits, however, the authors say three percent of corporate executives are psychopaths.
Do you have a story?
Have you run across a psychopath in the workplace? Lovefraud would like to hear your story. Post a comment to describe your experience. Please don’t use any names.