Help! My boss is a psychopath

How do you deal with a boss that you feel might be a pyschopath?

With research suggesting that between one and four per cent of the population are psychopaths, you might have to deal with a boss that falls under these tendencies.  But how do you deal with them?

The advice in general for someone you suspect as a psychopath from Xanthe Mallett in the Independent would be to get away from them. However if you suspect your boss, it might not be possible and Mallett suggests developing techniques to avoid letting ‘psychopaths in suits’ get the better of you.

She suggests that staying calm in their presence and practicing ways of looking relaxed even if they put you under pressure. By taking your emotions out of the situation you can start disempowering them and they’ll likely to move on to an easier target.

Whilst ‘organisation psychopaths’ comprise around one per cent of the workplace population, the higher up the career tree you go, the more likely you’ll find psychopaths as they crave influence, control and to dominate others.

How do you know your boss is a psychopath? You can do a ‘fun’ test to see if your boss is a psychopath – but you may not like the answer.

A paper by Clive Roland Boddy suggests that these organisational psychopaths can have a negative impact on both employees and the company itself. Their behaviour can lead to high staff turnover, as they manipulate people to get into positions of power.

Mallett also suggests that if you do have to engage with them, do so on your own terms, or try pretending you are a witness to the conversation and not react emotionally.

She also suggests avoid being alone with them as they may try to use sexual or other physical intimidation, by standing too close or making suggestive comments.

However, the best advice she suggests is: Do all you can to avoid them in the first place, as true psychopaths destroy lives.  And they’ll have fun in the process.

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