IS YOUR BUSINESS A BULLY?
The word bully is getting a lot of play in the media. Kids on the school playground, to most recently, Jonathan Martin, of the Miami Dolphins and NFL fame, accusing a teammate of being a bully, all used the new buzz word.
The problem is bigger than the word, or even a few who exemplify the word, bully. The word we’re looking for, is abusive or sociopathic behavior. We need to take that one step further, and apply this behavior to an all too common, business model, that is being encouraged, replicated and rewarded.
People are very offended by the word sociopath; but, do you know who isn’t offended by that word? Sociopaths. They lack the awareness of the rights of others, and is, in part, why they’re not offended by the word. Characteristics of sociopaths http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html :
- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate andhumiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
- Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
- Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
- Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
- Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
- Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
- Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
- Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Now, take this one step further, and think about an organization operating under these guidelines. It becomes very unhealthy and very illegal. Even though it may have been the status quo in the NFL, it doesn’t make it any less illegal.
Whether you are single, married, stay at home with children or are a CEO of Company or in the NFL, we’ve all experienced being taken for granted, lied to, manipulated, cheated on, humiliated, and in some capacity had our power diminished, by the hands of another.
Whether it was someone who was supposed to have loved us, in a personal relationship or someone who employed us, we can all relate. And if you’re having trouble locating the sociopath in your life, congratulations, let me hand you a mirror, as you are the sociopath in everyone else’s life.
It wasn’t, however, until I looked at my now former employer like a ‘relationship’ that it all started to become clear to me. And this type of behavior, somehow, is more acceptable in the workplace, since millions and often billions of dollars are often at stake.
- Pathological lying (Instructed to sell a product illegally off label)
- Manipulative and Conning (They may dominate and humiliate their victims.)
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt. Have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way. If selling illegally, things were acceptable, but once refused, things changed very negatively and role of accomplice turned to victim.
- Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility Companies often change their name to distance themselves from fraud. The DOJ has charged two Companies with the largest fines in US History. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, both in the BILLIONS. http://slphealthcareupdate.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/pfizer-to-pay-2-3-billion-for-fraudulent-marketing-in-largest-doj-health-care-fraud-settlement/ https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-ag-1170.html
Raising the stakes, where it’s more permissive for illegal activity to live freely without punishment, is all too common in the workplace today. There is a stigma attached to coming forward and defending yourself, while the abusers are often rewarded with pay raises or promotions within their industry.
I am not a psychologist, I’m just using logic, reason, and applying characteristics in a different way to show a disturbing pattern in business that is being encouraged, replicated and rewarded.
An argument could be made that you cannot humanly personify a business, but I would disagree. Using the same logic from the case Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, to exempt their for-profit corporation from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that companies with more than 50 employees offer health plans covering contraception because it is against the owner’s religious beliefs, this humanly personifies a business organization. It is with this same logic that I am maintaining that many of today’s companies are operating under characteristics of a sociopath.
MMpiHer Business Development & Consulting is available to work with your organization to help increase productivity, accountability, marketability, and profitability. Ethics and Profits are not a choice your business can be both, profitable and ethical.
*The author has is not stating that Mr. Incognito is a sociopath or that the NFL is sociopathic, the purpose is to link a comparison to the word bully and abuse.