The Curse of Psychopathy

“Tell me about Corporate Psychopaths!” Leila asked.

“I am not a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist!” I retorted.

This is the type of question I do not enjoy being ‘put on the spot’ to answer. It is an extremely complex subject. In business, simplicity is essential.

Like me, Leila has an engineering degree. I know she is highly intelligent. She also has an inquisitive nature.

“Why are you asking, Leila?”

“Well, I have read a few articles and noticed that around twenty important competencies of senior executives are on the list of psychopathic symptoms. I just wanted to know about your experience.”

“All right,” I said.

“Do you want to talk about organisational destroyers or good psychopaths?”

“I did not know good psychopaths existed.”

“Yes, they do, but there is not much information about them.

From my experience in the corporate world, the primary characteristic of psychopaths is the inability to feel any empathy. I believe the other symptoms are the consequences of this unfortunate lack and the individual’s life choices.

In my opinion, psychopaths realise at an early age that they are different from their peers. So, to avoid being singled out as monsters, both types start to act with empathy and caring.

Those who will become organisational destroyers later in life, likely hate people who have a feeling they cannot experience. Their lack of empathy gives them the ability to adopt values that will provide them with the possibility to win, most, if not all, competitive situations.

Whatever the reasons, they chose to become pathological liars, and they are usually proud to be. Generally, they do not evaluate well the risks associated with their decisions.

Good psychopaths choose to follow social rules. I assume they were loved by their parents or their teachers and they did not need to rebel. They will do what needs to be done to reach positions of authority, so they won’t be challenged. They will become indistinguishable from other executives.

That’s it!”

“Tell me more,” Leila asked.

“A few years ago, an owner of a medium-sized business, Paul, came to see me for a strategic session.

As you know, engaging the conscious and the unconscious is essential for this type of work if you wish to implement a strategy with a very high success rate.

I made Paul imagine that he was giving a speech to all his employees, their families, as well as his own. His eyes were closed. He was focused on the task when I asked him to describe the crowd.

“They are hollow and made of carton,” he said.

In one sentence, one sentence only, Paul had revealed the most important secret of his life!

Paul looked at me, and he moaned. Haunting and so sad!

Leila let out a sigh, then asked: “How can I detect good psychopaths?”

My answer was immediate and sharp: “Why would we want to detect them? Would this be beneficial to the business world? It is up to the Psychologists and Psychiatrists to decide”

Note: This case study is based on facts. The names of the subjects have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

 

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