Psychopathy is traditionally a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited and egotistical traits.
A psychopath can seem quite normal and even charming but their normalcy is a mere façade. A psychopath lacks a conscience and empathy thus leading him/her to be calculating, manipulative and impulsive.
The corporate psychopath or narcissist can often cause work-related depression, anxiety disorders, burnout, work-related stress that accounts for more than 40% of all workplace-related illnesses in South Africa, with at least one in four employees diagnosed with depression. Often the psychopath contributes to the problem, rather than the solution.
The bullying tactics of corporate psychopaths increase conflict, stress, staff turnover, absenteeism and reduce productivity. Workplace bullying is major cause of work-related stress. Bullying can make you ill. Bullying victims may experience stress, anxiety, depression, a loss of confidence, lack of sleep, may be off sick frequently and it may result in mental breakdowns.
The workplace bullies to be most concerned about are those with narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Narcissists favour “indirect bullying tactics” such as withholding information, ignoring people or giving them the “silent treatment”, spreading rumours to discredit others, and inflating their contribution or taking credit for achievements they had little to do with.
Psychopaths are deceitful, manipulative, indifference to the consequences of their action, have superficial charm, lack empathy and lack remorse. One must recognise and safeguard oneself against these workplace bullies.
An employee or preferably a group of employees, could lodge a written grievance, in terms of the employer’s grievance procedure requesting a grievance hearing to attempt to resolve this matter. If the matter remains unresolved internally, the employee/s have the right to declare a labour dispute at the CCMA or appropriate Bargaining Council to seek redress to curb the psychopath’s bullying tactics and/or to initiate procedures in an endeavour to dismiss the psychopath.