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We don't heed warnings


rockstar.esq

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I have a recurring problem in the workplace that I suspect is common to lots of others.  It's given me such trouble that I've gone looking for expert advice from many different angles.  Before I get into it, I'd like to present a thought experiment.

Lets say you're hiking a trail in an area known to have poisonous snakes.  Maybe there are trailhead boards with warnings, maybe it's public knowledge.  The main thing, is that you know there's a risk of a dangerous encounter but on balance, most people can enjoy the trail without a problem.  OK so lets say you've hiked a ways along the trail when you encounter a hiker coming from the opposite direction.  This hiker warns you that they'd seen a rattle snake a mile ahead.  I suspect some of you would choose to turn around and head back, while the rest carry on hiking.  In either case it's reasonable to expect that the warning would influence your behavior.  Speaking for myself, I'd be more watchful for snakes, and I'd feel relief if I completed the hike without encountering one. 

Hopefully everyone reading this far can relate to that example.

There's lots of dangerous stuff in the world that will hurt you if you're not careful.  We all know that some percentage of dogs will bite which is why most people are cautious around dogs they don't know.  It's fairly common knowledge that dogs will bite for a variety of reasons that can include joy, fear, and disease.  We don't have much concept of the dog being at fault, in fact, most biting dogs are viewed as "faulty dogs", security dogs notwithstanding.  

Again, hopefully everyone is still with me.

Psychiatrists report that anywhere from 1 to 4% of the worlds population are sociopaths.  This population isn't evenly distributed throughout society.  For example, roughly a quarter of all prisoners are sociopaths.  There are articles which suggest that sociopaths are more concentrated in authority positions like CEO's, Lawyers, Media, Sales, Surgeons, Police, Clergy, Chefs, and Civil Servants.  I'm not a psychiatrist, everything presented thus far is repeating stuff I found in medical journals and media articles that are easy to find.  

As I read the descriptions of sociopathic behavior, I noticed that these articles didn't include any advice for "normal" people who encounter a sociopath.  So I exercised a little Google-fu and asked what should I do if I think I'm working with a sociopath? 

I was impressed by how consistent the psychiatrists advice was.  

#1 Get away from them immediately.

#2 Don't try to stop them, isolate them, or announce your departure from their sphere of influence.

#3 Trust you instincts

All of the psychiatrists I read agreed that socipaths can not be rehabilitated. Sociopaths lack the emotions that make remorse possible.  In fact, several psychiatric articles suggest that treatment teaches sociopaths how to be better manipulators, which leads to even worse behavior.

Here's where we return to the thought experiment.

If a colleague warned you that they suspected someone was a sociopath, what would you think?

I suspect most people interpret this warning very differently from the snake warning on the trail.  

In my experience, people tune out whenever it's suggested that they could get manipulated or set-up to fail.  At first, I thought that maybe people were trying to reserve judgment, in order to stop ugly rumors from spreading.  I suppose for some it's a matter of personal pride to avoid exercising judgment.  

Along those lines, I started to wonder if people concerned with "good versus bad" were overlooking something obvious.  Sociopaths aren't good or bad, they're simply devoid of emotion.  Normal people spend most of their waking time on emotions, sociopaths don't.  All that's really left for sociopaths is winning.  Anything that leads to winning is acceptable.  The easiest path to winning for a sociopath among normal people is to use and abuse them.

This got me thinking about my working life.  There are a lot of people who are unaccountable in their profession.  For many of them, plausible deny-ability is their primary approach to all things.  It stands to reason that admitting they can see dangerous behavior in others, risks revealing the inherent malice behind their stock in trade.  

I was recently listening to a Project Manager ranting because a client had publicly exposed him for being unaccountable, feckless, and evasive.  This angry PM listed off examples of the clients bad behavior.  I had witnessed most of the PM's examples firsthand, and frankly, they read like a sociopath checklist.  Again, I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm just a guy trying to work for and around people who are positively wrecking everything they touch.

As far as I can tell, the client is right about the PM, and the PM is right about the client.  While the PM was ranting about the client's behavior, he actually made excuses for it.  The PM didn't deny any of the clients claims.  He was just angry about the exposure.  I presume that's why he made excuses for every one of his complaints about the client.  I don't think the PM is a sociopath, he's just stupid, and lazy.  Sometimes, there's no practical difference in outcome.

This leads to an interesting thought. 

What if we're not heeding warnings because we'd rather deny the failings of our own characters?

As I wrote earlier, this is a recurring problem.  There are a lot of bad actors, sociopaths,  or whatever term is preferable in my line of work.  Experience has shown that avoidance very much is the best policy, however warnings have rarely worked.  In fact, most of the time I can see people dismissing my warning.  Maybe this had the same effect on you?

I know a lot of people who lived to regret ignoring a warning.  They haven't offered any tips on how I might have handled things differently.  Honestly, it's a source of great frustration to me because spotting risks is a huge part of my job.  Sometimes, the biggest risks are the bad actors running the show.  That seems fairly obvious, yet nobody can bring themselves to act on that information.

Any ideas?

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Interesting subject. What prompted you to post this?  I like the reason given for a dog to bait ... "joy" :)

So if I am hiking and someone tells me he has seen a brown snake on the trail. If I am hiking with small children I'll pick them up or put them in my backpack and follow the trail making a lot of noise with my walking stick. In fact that would probably be my usual way to walk a trail in summer since the fact that someone has seen a snake or not, makes no difference. Snakes are there seen or unseen and there is no doubt in relation to what a snake does. 

When it comes to people, and people in the workplace of all places, things are a tad different. A sociopath does not have a distinctive colour like the brown snake or the red belly snake, nor a warning instrument like the rattle. So the warner in the workplace will have to have a very convincing way to convey to his interlocutor the risk involved ... or have great influence or known moral authority over them.

If I tell you Mr X is a sociopath and to stay away, your can interpret this in a multitude of ways. You can think I am trying to discredit Mr X. You can think I am being paranoid and my reading of Mr X character is exaggerated. You can think I am weak and scare easily and you would not have any problems with Mr X, you can think another dozen different thoughts, and you can also think that perhaps, based on what you know of me, I can read people well, and that my advise is sound, and that it is not worth trying to test my diagnosis and so you stay away. 

People are not snakes or dogs fortunately, and we tend to give people a second and many more chances.     

 

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Their is a difference between a born sociopath and a conditioned sociopath. Peale who are not sociopaths often exhibit sociopathis behavior. Take for example a prosecutor or sheriff, both elected positions. Often these otherwise normal and well meaning people do some AU foe heartless things. Sheriffs often fall victim to arresting people on minimal cause. As he sees his arrest record as paramount to his reelection. The same happens with prosecutors prosecuting people with out regard to guilt or innocence, all that maters is is the case winnable. As again many believe that their conviction rate is typed to their reelection. Do your job keep your job. In fact law school includes a class on how to be a sociopath, called ethics. Judges fall into a trap of emotional exhaustion, where they depend on due process instead of Justice. It’s just human nature. Again do your job, keep your job. I imagine it isn’t much different in the trades. 

As a mechanic my moral compass ran a bit different and I walked away from jobs. I settled into electrics (most techs can’t make rate chasing wiring issues) breaks (I only fix them one way, and due to liability I would tell peaple to go to Midas or Minikey I’d prefer they didn’t want the job done 100% right) and AC, being AZ it was steady and detailed work. 

We se similar situations acure with dehumanizing peaple (soldiers being the prime example). Other wise “normal”peaple doing “evil” things.

 

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Reading your post Charles, the case of Harold Fish (10mm handgun) came to mind. Sociopathic behaviour all around from probably normal people with a hidden agenda. 

That thought complicates matters even further. 

How can you warn others about ... (in your assessment) potential sociopath or potential sociopathic behaviour due to a hidden agenda? 

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This looks to be a fun thread. 

A couple points: When I was reading about serial killers I had to get into a little of the psychology of the psychopath. In the '70s the distinction was between psychopath, a "born condition," and Sociopath, conditioning or learned. The terminology has changed but I like those terms better, it's a clearer distinction with less room for interpretation. 

Whatever the cause, the lack of empathy or emotional disconnect is as varied as our feelings and emotions. Identifying sociopathy isn't a sure thing even for the experts. To some degree or another we're all both sociopathic and psychopathic. If you've ever had to do something you had to put your feelings aside to do. . . 

Probably the main reason we don't take warnings of someone being a sociopath or whatever is how does the person warning us know. What I've noticed is folk who say such things are good examples of Dunning Kruger effect, they don't know enough to know how little they know. With maybe 3-4 exceptions the only people I've heard calling someone a sociopath or psychopath are psyche 101 students about 2 weeks into their first class. The exceptions are folk worth listening too, maybe not right but worth considering.

What you do hear are descriptive phrases like: Watch that one he doesn't care about anybody but himself. Count your change. Don't turn your back on him. He thinks he knows everything. And so on. 

Psychopathic isn't necessarily a bad thing, for instance. Who would you want for a surgeon, someone who could make cold calculations during surgery or someone who gets emotional? Getting emotionally invested is a bad thing in big business or high government office. Not for all things but some.

Also I know from personal experience a sociopath can be hard to spot even if you're forewarned and looking. A narcissist is easier to spot but can be a lot more destructive. I'm no expert but I tend to think narcissism is an expression of psychopathy.

As for folks who don't listen to reasonable warnings . . . I believe in evolution, we should all hope they didn't pass on the stupid gene before earning a Darwin award.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Marc1, your comment brings an immediate thought to mind.  Go back to the snake analogy, you get a warning in an area with poisonous snakes.  Your warning is coming from someone you don't know, they just share the time and space with you.  You don't know if they're able to distinguish between harmless snakes and truly dangerous ones.  You don't even know if they're mischievously trying to scare you.

Lets say you go along the trail and spot a non-venomous snake.   You still don't conclusively know the moral position of the person who warned you.  My entire point was that we don't judge the person giving us a warning about remorseless killers in our midst.  Unless, the killer (figuratively speaking) is a person.

I'm currently working for two completely unrelated clients that demonstrate sociopathic tendencies.  Again, just using the checklists provided by psychiatrists and my first-hand experience with these people, I find that this line of work averages roughly two unique sociopaths per year.  Socipaths involved in the construction industry seem to have similar goals.  They create problems to reduce production so they can leverage penalties against all the additional stuff they don't want to pay for. Some of them create an unsolvable issue that requires months of back and forth design and pricing efforts.  This consumes time and resources while simultaneously paralyzing the project.   Others will pester the General Contractor about anything pertaining to a specific subcontractor to generate discord and division between them.  Quite a few will sequence the work to maximize conflicts.  From the ground level, they might appear to be nice, charming, and asking how they can help.  Many contractors are particularly fond of anyone who doesn't challenge change order prices.  A lot of these sociopaths suffer convenient delays in processing paperwork.  These people tend to give verbal approval for change orders over the phone when there are no witnesses.  I've encountered design-side sociopaths as well.  They have mysterious and convenient gaps in their ability to respond to communications.  One such designer's bid drawings consistently withhold critical information while seemingly unrelated requirements are placed where no sane person would go looking for them.  I often feel like these plans are printed in poisoned ink.  Their names live in infamy among subcontractors.

My stock in trade is estimating what it's going to take to build a job.  Working for loons is risky business so it's critical to be aware of what you're dealing with.  When I deliver an estimate, it comes with my insights and observations about everything pertinent.  I feel duty-bound to report when the people involved factor heavily into the projects' risk.  There doesn't seem to be a way to present that information without it sounding like a warning that person XYZ is a dangerous loon.  Even if I turned out to be wrong about that person, the vigilance and forewarning wouldn't cost us anything.  Yet no matter how I say it, or how often I say it, nobody will actually take it to heart.  One Project Manager at a local G.C. is immensely proud of his record for putting subcontractors out of business.  He happily boasted that he averages one subcontractor bankruptcy per job.  Rough order of magnitude calculations would put his "subcontractor kill" total at fifty firms to date.  This is public knowledge, heck he will say it to your face, yet he continues to collect bids from subcontractors eager to work on his projects.  

Charles,  I've read a little on these conditions and some of the references mentioned how the categorization of what is Psychopath and what is Sociopath has changed.  Again, I'm not a psychiatrist so I'm not in a position to really say anything for certain.  Your comment about Narcissism brings up a good point.  Psychiatrists use the term "dark triad" to explain how anti-social personality disorders tend to include Narcissim, Machiavielianism, and Psychopathy.  Again, this stuff seems to be a spectrum ranging from mild personality irritant to criminal insanity.  As I was driving home I was thinking about the Project Manager from my original post.  I don't think he's a sociopath in part because it really hurt his feelings that he'd been exposed to embarrassment. That being said, his career practice of being unaccountable, feckless, and evasive leads to outcomes that are really bad for the people working for him.  I would estimate his stupidity and laziness generates roughtly 60% of the public misery that his full blown sociopath client does.  It really illustrates a point my dad often made.  Cruelty comes of stupidity more often than malice.

Frosty, thank you for that really thoughtful reply.  You highlighted several things I hadn't pulled out.  For starters, you're absolutely correct that sociopaths are extremely charming when they want to be.  I didn't mention it for fear of sounding paranoid, but several of the psychiatrist articles mentioned that you have to be cautious about other (normal) people when dealing with a sociopath.  This is because the sociopath manipulates them into punishing/isolating anyone who stymies the sociopaths aspirations.  

You're also perfectly correct that socipaths are useful in roles where emotional sentiment would cloud judgment.  However, I think it's like having an attack dog.  We can't pretend an attack dog is going to become our friend whenever we don't want to be bitten.

I really like the descriptive phrases you pulled out because they closely mirror the psychiatrist checklist.  I suspect part of the problem here is that as a society, it's not polite to admit that crazy has consequences.  It's worse to get caught "labeling" something accurately, than to suffer consequences for acting in good faith.

This reminds me of the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog.

There's a river flooding and soon a patch of land will be overtaken.  A frog and a scorpion are considering what to do.  The scorpion asks the frog, "Could you swim across with me on your back?"

The frog replies: "I'm afraid you'll sting me."

The scorpion says: "I wouldn't do that because we'd both die."

Thus convinced, the frog allows the scorpion to climb on his back and begins swimming.  Suddenly, the frog feels a sting and so he asks: "Why did you sting me, knowing we'd both die?"

"It's my nature" replied the scorpion.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, John in Oly, WA said:

Yes they are bad. They just don't see it that way, which is a big part of their mental illness.

John,

I think I can see where you're coming from here.  When I posited that sociopaths were neither good nor bad I was talking about morality.  A lot of (normal) people simply need to avoid being seen as judgmental.  If they could separate the threat from "judging" someone , they might recognize the danger sociopaths present.

 

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An interesting resource on this is "Rethinking Narcissism" by Dr. Craig Malkin, who posits (among other things, and this is drastically oversimplified) that what we call Narcissism is simply one unhealthy end of a spectrum of how much we think of ourselves to be "special" or to have "worth" (the other unhealthy end being thinking oneself to be utterly worthless). Here's a good quote:

Quote

Most of us when we think about the word narcissism or narcissist, what we picture are vain, preening, primping, boastful braggarts, reality TV types, [...]. That is what comes to mind. The problem with that image, which is really a stereotype about bad narcissism, is that a lot of narcissists could care less about looks or fame or money and some can be extremely quiet. If that's what you are looking for, that particular image, you're going to miss all kinds of signs of trouble in a relationship that have absolutely nothing to do with those things.

The other major rethink that I had to do was about healthy narcissism. There is, in fact, such a thing as healthy narcissism. Over a quarter century of research shows cross­-culturally that the vast majority of people around the world feel a little bit special. They see themselves through slightly rose­ colored glasses. To quote one researcher, "they feel exceptional or unique". When we look at the research, we're asked how we compare to others in terms of what’s intelligence, things like that, we tend to think that we are more attractive, more compassionate. We even think we are more human than the average person. When people feel that way, they feel more resilient, according to research, they feel more optimistic, they feel more able in our research to give and receive in relationships than people who don't have those rose­ colored glasses. That's healthy narcissism.

What this perspective does for us, is it helps us understand not just one type of narcissism but all of them, and I'll get to that in a second. What's the difference between healthy and unhealthy narcissism? 

Think instead of narcissism as this obnoxious personality trait like the images that I conjured for you, think of narcissism as a pervasive universal human tendency, the drive to feel special, that we all long in some way to stand out from the rest of the 7 billion people on the planet. Even privately, we certainly long to feel special to someone we love, for them to view us as special, as different from the crowd, that's a part of healthy narcissism.

Unhealthy narcissism is when people become addicted to feeling special. Think of it like a substance abuse problem. When people, instead of turning to love and relationships, instead of opening up to somebody close to them and saying, "I'm scared, I'm sad, I'm lonely," and trusting that they can depend on them, they depend on these different ways of feeling special. That's when they become addicted to the experience. Now it all comes together because there are lots of ways to feel special. You can feel special by being the most misunderstood person in the room, having the deepest emotional pain.

[...]

The other thing that becomes clear as soon as you start viewing this way is the problem when people lack healthy narcissism. That's a problem. We already know from the research that people who don't have those rose­ colored glasses view themselves and the world in a slightly dimmer light. Sometimes they're more anxious, sometimes they're more depressed. In my research with my colleagues, I dubbed this problem echoism. Echo was the nymph who was cursed to repeat back only the last few words she heard. Where Narcissus fell in love with his reflection, Echo fell in love with Narcissus. Like Echo, people who struggle with echoism struggle to have a voice of their own. They're afraid of seeming narcissistic in any way. They're afraid of being a burden. They berate themselves for being too needy. They blame themselves for problems that go wrong in relationships. In the mild range of echoism what we found is these are people who can be deeply empathic. They prefer to focus on others as opposed to themselves. The danger here is in lacking those rose­ colored glasses, in shifting away from themselves to other people rather reflexively, echoists also tend to fall into relationships with extremely narcissistic partners and friends

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5 hours ago, rockstar.esq said:

Marc1, your comment brings an immediate thought to mind.  Go back to the snake analogy, you get a warning in an area with poisonous snakes.  Your warning is coming from someone you don't know, they just share the time and space with you.  You don't know if they're able to distinguish between harmless snakes and truly dangerous ones.  You don't even know if they're mischievously trying to scare you.

Lets say you go along the trail and spot a non-venomous snake.   You still don't conclusively know the moral position of the person who warned you.  My entire point was that we don't judge the person giving us a warning about remorseless killers in our midst.  Unless, the killer (figuratively speaking) is a person.

 

You answered your own question. If we are talking poisonous snakes, there is no debating the degree of danger. So 50% of the warning's integrity is taken care of. Sure one could construe that the stranger is ignorant or a lier, but at the end, if the warning turns out to be untrue, you can shake it of with a laugh. Not much of a problem. A bit like those that flash the lights to the oncoming traffic pretending to warn them of a radar trap ahead ... when there is none. 

A warning in relation to a work colleague or potential boss or customer, implies a rethink of a relationship that you expected to be advantageous. Following such advise will cost you, it takes away from you much more than face. And my guess is that the more the warned person can lose from following advice, the less he will be inclined to believe it and the more he will try to find a logical explanation for your warning to be wrong. Someone with plenty of work to chose from will listen and shrug his shoulder and say ... not worth it ... and move on. 

Your credibility ... if you are the origin of the warning and everything else being equal ... is inversely proportional to the loss that following your advice will cause, and may be directly proportional to the other person's risk aversion. 

In relation to the scenarios you tell us about, such behaviour may be called sociopathic or psychopathic by psychologists, to me it seems criminal and mafia like. It will eventually end bad for someone. I've seen the entire board of a construction firm killed by one contractor who believed to be wronged. He put on his Sunday suit and brought along his Colt 1911 in .45 ACP and got all 5 members of the board. 

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1 hour ago, rockstar.esq said:

neither good nor bad I was talking about morality

So, you think when a sociopath goes on a spree of killing several people, or even just uses and manipulates people for their own benefit with no regard for any harm it may inflict, it's morally neither good nor bad?

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Marc1,

I think it's possible that you're assuming that there is only one acceptable way to respond to a warning about a sociopath, abandon everything.  I don't think that's your only option.

In my snake analogy, the warning came after you'd decided to enter a place known to contain dangerous snakes.  The trail-head notice made it public knowledge.  This means they're already in the midst of a dangerous situation when they hear the warning.  I didn't offer airlift off the trail as an option because most people wouldn't consider that.  I didn't suggest starting a wildfire to purge the land of threats either because I'm assuming people scale their response to the situation.

So finding yourself in this position, you can only really choose to turn back, or continue on the loop.  Either choice would require greater vigilance to avoid suffering a bite.  My point is, you have to continue with your life knowing there's a threat in your midst.

Applying this to the threat of a sociopath, it's super important not to make any sudden movements.  It's entirely possible to protect your interests without "raze the earth" responses.  Keeping personal information to yourself wouldn't preclude you from conducting business with someone suspicious.  In fact, it's entirely possible to have your guard up and your eyes open without losing business opportunities.  I've been led to believe some areas of the legal profession operate exclusively along these lines.

27 minutes ago, Marc1 said:

A warning in relation to a work colleague or potential boss or customer, implies a rethink of a relationship that you expected to be advantageous. Following such advise will cost you, it takes away from you much more than face.

I don't see how thinking about a business relationship connects directly to personal cost.  

I would expect that a warning would ordinarily lead to checking for problems.  If they don't find any problems, they wouldn't change anything, and nobody but them would know about the check so there's no loss of face.  Conversely, if they did find problems, they'd be capable of mounting an informed defense to stem their losses.

In both cases, the person is in a superior position to where they were before the warning.  They're more sure of their situation and what to do about it.

I get the point that people with limited options can't afford to turn opportunities down.  There are often compelling reasons to compromise.  Working for loons is a compromise when you know and have a plan going for the trouble they'll cause you.  Pretending loons don't exist because your situation is desperate is tantamount to suicide.

Contracting in 2018 involves working for sociopaths, there are poisonous snakes afield.  Willful ignorance is a poor talisman against that threat.

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17 hours ago, rockstar.esq said:

I think it's possible that you're assuming that there is only one acceptable way to respond to a warning about a sociopath, abandon everything.  I don't think that's your only option.

Agreed. However without specifics about the danger in question, the consequences for the contractor and alternatives at hand, it seems the most sensible choice. 

Many other alternatives, sure. 

I thought you were interested in the conundrum presented by those who don't seem to listen to sound advise. The answer is in their choices, their own assessment of the situation and the authority they see, real or percieved, in the originator of the warnings. 

Human nature. Tell a kid not to do something and sit back and observe. 

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2 minutes ago, John in Oly, WA said:

So, you think when a sociopath goes on a spree of killing several people, or even just uses and manipulates people for their own benefit with no regard for any harm it may inflict, it's morally neither good nor bad?

Are venomous snakes morally good or bad?

I see the nature as separate from the potential.  Venomous snakes and sociopaths can cause a lot of harm to people.  

We don't go killing every snake we see, in part because we all take the threat they pose seriously.  The other part, is that we recognize value in living things.  

My point in all of this, is that I don't think people take the threat sociopaths pose as seriously.  Adding a heaping helping of moral prejudice to that ignorance strikes me as likely to dissuade large portions of the public from exercising good judgement.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm of the opinion that we're fooling ourselves with the concept of a "useful sociopath".  Arrogance and unwarranted confidence often play huge roles in getting hurt.  

 

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I don't remember where I read this for the first time, but I've found it to be accurate most of the time:  "People will believe what they want to be true or what they fear to be true before they will believe the actual truth."

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Another area that may play a role here, ...and please measure your answers because it is easy to stray into forbidden territory ... is the new wave of 'equality' aka political correctness. 

I am of the opinion that in business, bias and prejudice are an essential tool. As much as they are wrong in everyday life, to a degree, they are a survival tool in business. Wildlife survives applying 'extreme prejudice' like the lawyers say. Normal humans, tend to be in business like they are at home and that is, in my opinion a mistake. 

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Bad analogy. Venomous snakes are not humans. We tend to hold humans to a bit different standard of conduct than wild animals (we make laws about that conduct), otherwise there would be either, no prisons, or they would be full of animals too. Our standards of morality, we apply to humans, not animals. Although, if an animal attacks a human, we certainly kill it. As for "killing every snake we see" based on their potential, yes humans have essentially done that. Wolves were wiped out in various areas of the world based on the threat they posed to humans. Other animals were treated similarly as well.

And my opinion ( I agree with the psychiatrists you've read that sociopaths can't be rehabilitated ), harsh though it may be, is kill them or lock them up at the first offense and don't ever release them. I would consider it cleaning the gene pool.

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Business magazines and blogs are full of how to spot and deal with "toxic" bosses and co-workers. The only one that seems to work is moving on. Any attempt at calling them out on their behavior unleashes chaos. Having their supervisors actually notice anything not on a spreadsheet with a dollar sign, and take corrective measures is a long shot at best.

100% of 'leaders' and CEO's think that they are above average: half of them are wrong. Some of them are very, very wrong.

The problem is not so much that power corrupts people, as that corruptible people are attracted to power.

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Many times supervisors and those on up the corporate ladder want the easy way out. The squeaky wheel gets the attention and is reprimanded or removed. The problem continues until something breaks.

When things at a company start to get abrasive or service suffers, the customers will notice and go to another source. The client base is reduced and things then get more abrasive, more customers leave. The spiral is downward and rapid. 

Move on? You were looking for a job when you accepted the current one, so start looking again. Hope that you can secure another job before the current job implodes. 

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On 6/8/2018 at 10:08 PM, John McPherson said:

100% of 'leaders' and CEO's think that they are above average: half of them are wrong. Some of them are very, very wrong.

The problem is not so much that power corrupts people, as that corruptible people are attracted to power.

John, that's well said.  I do wonder if this is too passive of an assumption.  On some level aren't "normal" people making choices not to act impulsively?  My point is that sanity takes a bit of upkeep, sometimes more that a little.  Likewise, doing business is by necessity, an exercise in human nature.  It's bizarre to me that any given round-table discussion among CEO's could be expected to prattle on about how business is all about relationships and accountability.  

Well Mr/Mrs. CEO, a decent number of your business relationships will be with seriously flawed people.  Precious few problems in business are caused by acts of nature.  Mostly, it's just people screwing things up. Humanity knows this to be true so we created professions like Management, Accounting, Estimating, HR, etc.  So if the single greatest threat to any cooperative effort is people, why are we so unwilling to hear that some people are predisposed to wrecking everything for the rest of us?

On 6/8/2018 at 6:29 PM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Honestly depends on the corporate culture. Their are companies that have a very humane corporate culture  

I agree with this principle but I've never been fortunate enough to experience it first hand.  

On 6/9/2018 at 12:02 PM, Glenn said:

Move on? You were looking for a job when you accepted the current one, so start looking again. Hope that you can secure another job before the current job implodes. 

Point taken Glenn.  

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On 6/8/2018 at 10:08 PM, John McPherson said:

100% of 'leaders' and CEO's think that they are above average: half of them are wrong. Some of them are very, very wrong.

Above average for leaders, or for the general population? Two different things.

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