In part 1, I described the difference between sociopath and psychopath from a clinical perspective.
The label workplace psychopath has entered popular culture and it generally means anyone who is hard to work with. This does not mean they have a clinical personality disorder.
Sociopaths tend to be easy to pick based on odd emotional if not anti-social behaviour. You are quickly concerned about them – emotionally. They often do not fit into teams at all well. There are people who are shy and quiet and sometimes isolated but these people are noticeably anti0-social.
Psychopaths can be narcissistic. This means: it is all about them – always. They can be a genius at self-PR. They can look brilliant. They may appear to be focused on others but in reality if you look very closely you can see that it is always self serving. Always.
If it goes right, they will take the credit – and often with the greatest humility. If it goes wrong it is never their faulty. It is always someone else’s fault. Always.
You have met people who are egotistical and self centred but psychopaths are on a mission. They can be extremely clever the higher up the ranks they proceed.
One indicator worth considering is how their team talk – or DON’T – talk about them. It is either uniformly vanilla – meaning everyone has been coached on what to say; or often you cannot get anyone to talk about this person because they are in fear of their jobs.
Tip: If this sounds true, proceed very carefully. According to a recent law review, they are adept at using the law. Often they will resort to using anything that can be deemed discriminatory and before you know it you are dealing with legal threats. So be careful.