In- depth analysis by Professional Manager, magazine of The Chartered Management Institute.
The article " Is your boss a psycho ? " by Rebecca Burn- Callander, issue of summer 2013, reveals the following factors that concern personality disorders which hundreds of thousands of people encounter at modern workplace in the United Kingdom.
* What is a Psycho ? Psychopaths aren't necessarily killers or criminals. They can even be overachievers with high flying careers.
* Leaders can be psychopaths, they are likely to go undetected in the workplace.
* Organisations will often reward psychopathic characteristics of being ruthless, results-driven, using charisma to get the most out of staff and colleagues.
* Those who are ruthless and resilient to others' opinions are more likely to climb to the top.
* The next big thing on psychopathy spectrum, says Jackson, is something known as Histrionic Disorder. This is a personality always in crisis like a phone call missed.
* Histrionics are attention - seeking and like to talk about their problems. Its brought about by societal change.
* How can you tell the difference between a driven leader and a genuine psychopath ? (a) Look for those that consistently take credit for others' ideas, says Dr. Cheryl Travers, Chartered Psychologist and lecturer at Loughborough University (b) those who are incredibly charming to one's face, then stab you in the back with no apparent remorse (c) they may tell lies to serve their purpose, and can be very manipulative (d) they tend to set impossible deadlines and make employees to feel they can never work hard or efficiently enough
* Psychopaths come in many guises, says professor Craig Jackson, senior lecturer in occupational health psychology at Birmingham City University, and an expert on deviance and psychopathology in the workplace. Some will never even be encountered at workplace, like schizoid disorder.
* Real ones to worry about are the narcissistic and borderline personality disorders.
* Narcissism isn't a bad thing - it is healthy to take some pride in your appearance and its normal to enjoy praise. Narcissist personality disorder is characterized by a strong need for admiration alongside a lack of empathy for others.
* Watch out for leaders who are unable to plan long term. BDP - borderline personality disorder - is characterized by impulsive behavior, variable moods and intensity. Those with BPD can display poor impulse control, says Dr. Travers.
* If you think there might be a psychopath in your organisation, don't jump the ship yet. Having a boss with personality disorder is not always bad for you as a worker, says Jackson.
* Working with a psychopath can be a life-swallowing pursuit. Personality disorders come and go depending on social rules and norms, explains Jackson.
* Personality disorders also manifest as bullying behavior or harassment but many organisations choose to turn a blind eye.
* If you work for a psychopath, you don't have to keep silent. It is only by speaking out that problem characters can be removed from organisations.
* Definition of psychopath has evolved over time. Since 10 years ago ( 2004), this so called disorder was phased out of medical parlance.
* There are many factors that contribute to creating a psychopath. It is almost impossible to un-psycho a manager, there are organisational and societal changes that could prevent these individuals from thriving.
* How to Out-Psych a Psycho. Psychopathy is not genetic - it is developmental. But once habits are formed, they are almost impossible to break. there are no known cures for personality disorders, no pills that can be popped. So, how can you best handle a psycho Manager ?
- BE GOOD. If you are an expert at what you do, it makes it hard for you to be criticized, says Dr. Cheryl Travers, Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer at Loughborough University. " Do your homework and prepare for every interaction if you can ".
- FIND PEACE. Make sure you have someone to vent outside of work and find ways of getting a break on days when they've affected you particularly badly, says Travers. " A good brisk walk often helps".
- AVOID ATTACKS. Never tell a psychopath they are wrong, either in private or in person, warns a management consultant who does not wish to be named. " They will punish you. Never trust them".
- TAP IN. try to find out as soon as you can what motivates them, be it money, beauty, status, power or knowledge, says anonymous management consultant. " Make sure every interaction you have with them taps into these values and motivators".
- PAY ATTENTION. Learn the games these people play so you can predict their next move, Travers adds. " Become your own amateur work psychologist ".
( Professional Manager Magazine, Summer 2013 issue, page 57. http://www.professionalmanager.co.uk
For a manager, the job of career management and development is an ability to manage one's own career and the careers of others and work colleagues. There are many different ways how this is done. Some of the ways are human resources management and training, career development training, continued professional development, emotional intelligence competencies tests, career management consultancy.
In the world of careers, being named as a Psycho would be ill reputation and destroy the value and credibility of an employee. What kind of work and professional reference would an employer give for a Psycho who may have left his employment voluntarily or was dismissed ?
Looking at someone who is out of work, undergoing treatment and rehabilitation and needs to get back to work and pursue a career. First steps would be to analyse and take stock of his skills and abilities, evaluate his career goals and prepare a CV.
How would you prepare a more accurate and honest CV of a Psycho ? There would be double standards and also a double life of the person.
Covering up the condition of Psycho on a CV. Would time spent in undergoing interviews and treatment may be described as (a) Had an accident and was hospitalized or (b) Had a heart attack and was off from work or ( d) was under going a study course and training ?
How would problems encountered at work or business performance may be covered with explanations. Also, we need to be clear whether the employers would be looking for information or explanations on a CV. At interview Questions and Answers session, both information and explanations may be exchanged.
As a mock exercise let us emulate a CV of Norman Bates, the Psycho character in Alfred Hitchcock's movie. Norman Bates has double life or double standards, one is that of an honest employee at the motel and the other a devious psycho. I am sure that the author and screen script writer must have prepared a CV and detailed profile of the character.
Link to the CV of Norman Bates that I have created to make a start in simulation: https://plus.google.com/113847722249366626279/posts/Q7CuoiHFAdR
How does this CV compare with that of a manager who can easily pass the recruitment selection process ? Please share your comments and suggestions of a better or worse CV.