“In reality, a psychopath boss is more likely to prey on submissive ‘yes’ people”

The Grid: Top executives often lose sight of themselves and morph into monsters, who, depending on the culture of the organisation, can go unchecked and even rewarded. We recognise that not all psychopathic traits are bad when it comes to business but employees can pay a high price, right? An Australian study came out recently with ways to identify if your boss has psychopathic traits. Here is what they warn us to look for:

  • Egocentric: flamboyant, attention-seeking, manipulative and sometimes downright cunning
  • Lack of Empathy: cold, ruthless and calculating
  • Amoral: insincerity, back covering, superficiality and ultra-competitive

What can we do to prepare ourselves in dealing with a psychopath boss now or in future?

Terence Mauri: In reality, a psychopath boss is more likely to prey on submissive ‘yes’ people than more professional and respected ones. Try these strategies that help act as a deterrent to future proof yourself against becoming the target of a psychopath boss.

  1. Become a lynchpin. Make yourself indispensable. This means leveraging expertise. Become the absolute go-to person for information and advice and demonstrate to others your skill, competence and influence. It will send a clear signal to any psychopathic types that you are a force to be reckoned with and they should back off.
  2. Build your posse. A posse means your team, your family and your mentors. A strong network provides protection against personal attacks and gives you access to information and high profile decision-makers. A psychopathic boss is more likely to want to keep you onside than risk sabotaging his or her reputation.
  3. Practice twenty seconds of daily courage. We spend a third of our lives in the office so it’s important to have a voice and be heard. A psychopath boss thrives in an environment where a culture of fear is the norm. The 2010 Equality Act in the UK was introduced to protect employees from bullies but it’s up to individuals to have the courage to speak up when another person is being disrespectful or worse bullying. Attend assertiveness training and understand that ultimately you choose how you wish to be treated. Never give permission to others to treat with you less respect than you deserve. It’s a mindset and a skill that we should be educated about at school because by the time we start work life, we’re already programmed to accommodate bullies and avoid those tricky but life changing talks.

The psychopath boss does not have a place in today’s world.

The Grid: Ok, now that we’ve got that sorted, do you have any advice for anyone actually in danger of becoming a psychopath boss?

Terence Mauri: Be the boss you always wished for and show your best self every day.

May 1, 2017

This is an extract from an interview with Terence Mauri who is the author of the global bestseller of The Leader’s Mindset: How to Win in the Age of Disruption.

Terence Mauri has written about ‘the Psychopath Boss’ for The Telegraph and The Huffington Post and spoken on the topic at Google Campus.

This interview is provided as general information to readers of The Grid. It does not constitute, and should not be construed as, advice on any specific matter or advice on which you should rely, nor does it create any contractual, tortuous or fiduciary relationship. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information.

Interview by May Khizam, Founder and Chief Strategist, The Grid may@thegrid.ae

The Grid Belief Statement: Building loyalty for organisations big and small through actionable information sharing, the Grid believes in the transfer of  information that can be converted to knowledge and used instrumentally in business in the form of modified or new practices. For more interesting interviews by The Grid, click www.thegrid.ae

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