Working in an office environment can be both engaging and stressful as well. While you may like your work, chasing deadlines can be painful. Things become even more worrisome if there is a psychopath in the team. It could be one of your colleagues or your immediate or team boss or project manager.
Psychopaths can be easily identified with their traits such as arrogant behavior, exploitative attitude, dishonesty, low remorse and callous nature. Psychopaths can be charming and yet they may hold no empathy for others. Psychopaths in office will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Psychopaths can be successful in their professional career, which may provide them the backing and support of top management.
Not all psychopaths are born equal. But if you are working with someone who tends to create a toxic environment, it makes sense to have a proper plan to deal with such people. In that context, let us take a look at some options as to how to deal with a psychopath at work.
Practice to control your emotions – One of the strong points of psychopaths is that they have very little emotions. As such, they remain unaffected about what others say about them. In comparison, an average person may tend to react in various ways when provoked. This is exactly what a psychopath will want from you. They may do things or say things with the goal to upset you. It is their way of showing their dominance. In such situations, you can choose to stay calm and unaffected. At least, stay that way in front of the psychopath.
Avoid face-to-face interactions – As far as possible, try to limit face-to-face interactions with a psychopath at work. A number of tasks can be completed via email, office chat platforms and phone calls. This will reduce the number of opportunities the psychopath may have to trouble you. Avoid one-on-one meetings, as this is when a psychopath can be most hurtful.
Do not be intimated – A psychopath will often use various types of direct and indirect threats to intimidate you. And once they notice that you can be manipulated, they will do it over and over again. A psychopath is hardly ever satisfied with their cruel behavior. So, it is better to assert yourself from day one. Make it clear that you are not the one who can be intimidated. They may look powerful, but you can always approach the HR.
Watch out for blatant lies and stories of being victims – When intimidation does not work, a psychopath may start telling absolute lies. They may also start telling stories of how they were once cheated or backstabbed by others. With these lies and stories, they may be looking to establish an emotional connection with you. This is just another way to deceive and manipulate people. Do not fall for such lies and stories.
Point out to their own shortcomings – Psychopaths may be smart, but they are also humans. It is likely that they too may have some weaknesses. All you need to do is identify those weaknesses and point it out to them. Choose a place when everyone in the team is around and listening. When a psychopath knows that you too have potential to hurt them, they might think twice before targeting you.
As is evident from above, there are various ways to deal with a psychopath at work. Studies show that psychopaths can create a toxic work environment, leading to mental health issues. So, it is always better to avoid a psychopath at work. If things are getting out of control, it would be better to talk to the HR. You can also consider changing the job.