Anna Faoagali

New Research into Psychopaths in the Workplace

“Typically psychopaths create a lot of chaos and generally tend to play people off against each other,” Mr Brooks says.

The Australian Psychological Society published that higher than expected levels of psychopathic traits exist among people found in the upper echelons of the corporate business sector, and companies should undertake psychological screening to help identify ‘successful psychopaths’, according to new research being presented at the APS Congress, held in Melbourne, 13 to 16 September. Forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks says many businesses have their recruitment screening back-to-front. “Too often companies look at skills first and then secondly consider personality features,” he says. “Really it needs to be firstly about the candidate’s character and then, if they pass the character test, consider whether they have the right skills.” Mr Brooks says emerging studies show while one in 100 people in the general community and one in five people in the prison system are considered psychopathic, these traits are common in the upper echelons of the corporate world, with a prevalence of between 3% and 21%. Mr Brooks says the term ‘successful psychopath’, which describes high-flyers with psychopathic traits such as insincerity, a lack of empathy or remorse, egocentric, charming and superficial, has emerged in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, prompting a range of new studies. The research has major implications for the business sector, as the successful psychopath may engage in unethical and illegal business practices and have a toxic impact on other employees, he says. The Evolve workplace mediation model supports the employer and the employee create post mediation strategies to ensure that people are held accountable to the commitments that they make. This is component of mediation that is under-utilised and overlooked as the traditional mediation model assumes that the parties don’t have any relationship post mediation. Talk to us to find out more. Anna Faoagali, Principal, Evolve Workplaces

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