Someone asked what can be done about some ex-military coworkers who where acting in a psychopathic fashion (competing and not cooperating) and failing in their aggressive technical goals.
True psychopathy is genetic. This will be fact one day I’m certain. Psychopaths have only their rational mind to cope with the world. Most people have both a metamind (conscience) and rational mind and when they use both that is reason. If empath vs psychopath behavior where a venn diagram psychopaths behavior would be completely enclosed inside empaths much larger circle.
Military are almost always empaths. They are almost always proto-psychopaths or meta-psychopaths.
Proto-psychopaths are created. The conscience is trained to essentially get out of the way so the person will act like a dutiful psychopath. (They make great but unstable slaves) The conscience is doing some problem solving but it’s main role is to keep the rational mind on the ‘straight and narrow,’ stabilizing the rational ‘psychopath’ part. This is why some ex-mil types are less creative. All the creativity their brain has to offer is reenforcing loyalty to a service they’ve since retired.
Some soldiers create themselves as meta-psychopaths. Meta-psychopaths also suspend their conscience. The difference is who is in charge of the change, their drill instructor, or themselves. Meta-psychopaths are very much like a guru. So they will be MUCH more effective in the private sector later on. They enjoy the full set of human behavior. They can be ruthless like a psychopath and creative like empath. These are the soldiers that go on to become special ops and accomplished technicians in the service. This is the outcome the military increasingly wants.
Actual genetic psychopaths make terrible soldiers. They dutifully follow orders while watched, but are more interested in promotions and self gratification. They are constantly trying to one up their superiors even when it could cost lives. (The psychopath slave always wants to become the master) When faced with battle/real danger they look for any opportunity to desert as survival is the only (selfish) logical choice. BTW they can make great warriors ah la the Vikings but raping and pillaging is about self gratification, not service, duty and strategic progress of the whole group.
I frequently see proto-psychopath ex-soldiers wrongly accuse meta-psychopath soldiers (or any other non proto-psychopaths) of being psychopaths. Their creative process is seen as an attack on their hierarchical superiors. They simply don’t understand and therefore respect their creative use of their metamind. They see self direction as insubordination. This is part of the cost of intentional proto-psychopathy.
‘what is to be done.’
Ideally you want non psychopathic emapths in your company. So the best thing you can do is avoid creating a psychopathic culture. How? Simple. Psychopaths only compete, so reward cooperation. Yes unfortunately those condescending ‘team building’ things do work, at least for the cooperators.
Avoid hiring psychopaths in the first place. Follow up on all references! If HR doesn’t, fire them. Psychopaths lie constantly (to survive) so they will be caught in little lies. It’s less important if they’ve made some mistakes in their past and WAY more important that they don’t lie about them. Don’t accept blank spots in a resume. They can be anything but blank. ‘I went on a kayaking tour across the country for 6 months’ or ‘I just couldn’t find a job’ or ‘my son had cancer’ ‘I was tired of the daily grind’ is way better than ‘personal matters.’ If they lie to you ever, drop them like they’re hot.
Only hire proto-psychopaths for operational roles. Give any ex-military proto-psychopath a goal with enough authority and vigor and she will say, ‘I will accomplish it.’ Even if the goal is absurdly unobtainable. This behavior is usually not helpful in business. Remember creativity and questioning authority are disreputable to them. They have no social mechanism to say no to ‘orders.’ They are cannon fodder for any lurking psychopaths, who are naturally serving their own ends. They should be easy to pick out in the interview process as a little too eager to please.
There are some advantages to having competitive people in sales positions, and to less of a degree operations. The important characteristic is these jobs solve specific, well understood problems. These are good positions for your proto-psychopaths, but never a psychopath. They will usually sacrifice the companies future for personal gain now. They will probably be caught and fired, but at what total cost.
How about the psychopath that is already there but hidden? Create false golden opportunities and watch who takes them. They are your problem. Psychopaths will only be restrained by their short term rational analysis of risk. They will lie cheat and steal as the opportunities are perceived to present themselves.
Creating a false prize to see who claims it is called a honeypot. Keep in mind the honeypot will need to be very clever to outwit the smartest sociopaths (psychopath limits stage) Hand known information to trusted workers and see if their boss takes credit for it. Create false contacts for industrial espionage. Leave company credit cards (with tight limits) and equipment where employees can ‘find’ them. Offer impossibly hard projects (no money, no market, tight deadlines) with a promotional promise and see who nibbles. Feign illness, retreat to the security room, and watch your next in command as she fills your shoes for a few days.
Companies are moving toward a split model of operations and sales (understood problems) as the functional side and dev-ops or creative work on the other. This is a wise move. A small group of people competing with everyone and everything can destroy a company. Jealousy has a very limited scope of risk analysis. Remember ‘everything’ includes your company’s interests as well. Cooperation isn’t a natural choice for psychopaths, only alliance.