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Workplace Psychopaths: Not so rare

ARE you or your workmates suffering from the actions of a workplace psychopath?

These are people who psychologically destroy those they work with to feed their need for a sense of power, control and domination. They don’t suffer guilt or remorse, in fact they enjoy the suffering of others. This is a frightening scenario but you probably assume the risk of having one in your workplace is long odds –  you’d be wrong. 1-3% of adult males and 0.5-1% of adult females are clinically ‘psychopaths’ and a significant percentage of these are workplace psychopaths,  so  organisations with 100 or more staff are likely to have one

Workplace psychopaths identify targets who often have low self-esteem and then systematically victimise them. They use lies and rumours to destroy their victims’ confidence and reputation and they seek to isolate them from their colleagues. There have been many examples of victims being pushed so far they have been able to see no way out other than to take their own life.

Dealing with workplace psychopaths is difficult. Victims often find there is no one they can turn to because the perpetrator has undermined their credibility and ingratiated themselves with senior managers.

To work their evil, workplace psychopaths rely on division, isolation and the spreading of rumours. To counter this we need to educate workers, establish a culture that is open and encourages strong teams and we need to look out for and support one another.  More information on this important issue can be found here

A number of  CPSU staff members recently attended a presentation by Dr John Clarke as part of WorkSafe Month. You can read more about Dr Clarke and his research here

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