Deep within every high-powered Australian company lurks a workplace psychopath, according to psychologist and author Doctor John Clarke. In fact, the majority of psychopaths are not serial killers or rapists, they are smart and charming colleagues, bosses and employees who manipulate, hurt and sometimes destroy those around them.
Doctor Clarke will present details on the characteristics of a psychopath and how to best minimise a workplace psycho’s damage to others at the Queensland Safety Conference. The Queensland Safety Show, Queensland Materials Handling and the Queensland Safety Conference run from 19 to 21 June 2007 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Research shows that anywhere from 1 to 3% of the population is psychopathic. And, Doctor Clarke says that every high-powered Australian company would likely employ at least one psychopath. He says these workplace psychopaths are predators who ruthlessly charm and manipulate people around them, gratifying themselves without remorse.
“Psychopaths are very comfortable in successful corporations because they are actually rewarded for their behaviour,” says Doctor Clarke.
“Companies are attracting psychopaths without even knowing it when they place job advertisements asking for someone who is ‘willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.’ That’s what psychopaths do except that they manipulate, steal ideas, bully and destroy in order to get there. They enjoy it and don’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” he says.
Meanwhile their victims are miserable and suffer from depression, anxiety disorders and fear of going to work. They become irritable, sleep deprived, physically ill and they lack concentration. Clarke knows of at least three situations where employees have committed suicide as a result of working with a psychopath.
“Psychopaths isolate and then destroy their victims. In the workplace, psychopaths cut employees or co-workers out of the lines of communication and then they can do anything they want to their victims,” Doctor Clarke explains.
As an expert in workplace psychopaths, Doctor Clark works with companies to identify them and, more importantly he says, to educate employees on how psychopaths manage. He says psychos cannot be rehabilitated. In fact, rehabilitation programs teach them more appropriate social skills and ways to interact with people. They then use these skills to better con and manipulate their victims.
“After educating everyone in the company about workplace psychopaths and how they think, it is important to create good communication lines, teamwork and team-building,” says Doctor Clarke.
“This way, psychopaths are unable to isolate and destroy others. If you have good communication in your company, it stops being easy for psychopaths to isolate others and if it stops being easy, they will likely leave.”
Victims of workplace psychopaths often feel empowered after learning there actually is a problem within their company, according to Doctor Clarke. Because victims are so isolated, they often are unaware that the workplace psychopath is actually targeting and destroying other co-workers as well.
If victims don’t get this kind of education and support from their employer, Doctor Clarke says it is most likely healthier for the victims to leave their jobs to get away from the psychopath because he or she is incapable of change.
“I think the workplace psychopath is actually more dangerous than the violent criminal psychopath because the workplace psycho is smart, charismatic, charming and much less likely to get caught,” says Doctor Clarke.
Doctor Clarke will give further details and advice about identifying workplace psychopaths and helping their victims during his presentation at the Queensland Safety Conference on 21 June 2007.
The Queensland Safety Show, Queensland Materials Handling and the Queensland Safety Conference which run from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 June 2007 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and organised by Australian Exhibitions & Conferences.