Don’t Become a Psychopath’s Pawn
Learn how to protect yourself from the corporate psychopath.
We’ve already discussed the Office Asshole and how to tell if there’s one in your midst. As bad as the Asshole might sound, however, there’s a worse evil that may lurk a few desks away. Meet the corporate psychopath.
What makes dealing with corporate psychopaths especially complicated is that you’re probably going to like meeting them, too. Psychopaths have a special gift for making you feel like you’re the only person in the room – but it’s all with a goal: the psychopath needs pawns.
In Snakes in Suits, psychologists Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare explain that when they enter a new workplace, a psychopath’s first order of business is bonding with pawns that can provide them with useful resources: money, information, expertise, or influence.
Psychopaths target people who are well-liked and whose opinions are valued. A canny psychopath might, for example, bond with a secretary to stay up on company gossip or to spread glowing rumors about himself. And because they’re so charming, a psychopath will get a pawn believing their lies, allowing the psychopath to take credit for their work, and accepting blame for things the pawn didn’t do.
Through their charisma, psychopaths convince pawns that they are their trusted companions, and out of loyalty and enthrallment, the pawns serve the psychopaths’ agenda. Unsurprisingly, this almost never ends well for the pawns: the psychopath will manipulate the pawn, steal their work, exploit their resources, and then drop them. What can you do to protect yourself against psychopaths at work? Here’s what Babiak and Hare say:
Learn more about why there are so many psychopaths in management, how to identify them and how to neutralize them in Snakes in Suits. If you’re already dealing with a psychopath and need answers fast, read the 15-minute summary on Blinkist.