Corporate psychopathy is associated with abusive leadership, workplace harassment, incivility and psychological among employees. Dark personality traits are still perhaps one among the least discussed topics in many organizations. Those who are familiar with it, though, know what importance the subject holds in the functioning of an organization. Owing to these dark personalities, there is a high risk of loss of productivity and high turnover. Illness, lawsuits and the risk of sabotaging of the company’s public image are a few other of the consequences. For those dealing with the problem and those who want to know these personality traits well, Xoxoday’s Co-founder Manoj Agarwal speaks in depth about it during recently held webinar on dark traits by Mettl.
What are dark personality traits and how to identify them?
Psychology classifies the group of three specific traits as dark personalities. The dark personality triad has narcissists, machievelists and psychopaths on its nodes. The tendencies possessed by these personalities pose a threat to any organization and even their families. These personalities are associated with antisocial tendencies and they have reportedly indulged in acts such as theft, bringing down the organization’s reputation and, on a much more serious level, abuse and physically harming people.
The behavior of the dark triad is explained with the models based on DSM-IV Axis II disorders (Hogan & Hogan, 2001; 2009). In many studies, the triad shows a common and underlying tendency which is excessive self-obsession. Their negative actions are mostly centred around the idea of elevating themselves and harming others.
While narcissists are excessive self-lovers, machievelists have abnormal instincts to aid their survival. Psychopathic personalities are known to have characteristics such as - impulsiveness, riskiness, low empathy and high anxiety. The dark triad is at the borderline of normal behaviour and clinical level psychopathy. Although there has been a lot of research conducted on dark triad in general, there has been very little work done on studying their behavior at the workplace.
According to Manoj, these traits can be identified and precautionary measures can be taken if one is well informed about the traits. He says, “Employees who engage in a lot of cribbing about their work and environment, spend time in too much gossiping and display extreme emotions at work, are the candidates who given an opportunity can commit undesired activities. We often come across persons who are more problem-oriented than solution-oriented, desires to be alone and is a weak team player, gets frustrated and shows sensitivity to small problems. Persons with high inferiority or superiority complex are likely to pose a threat to the organization.’
We often come across persons who are more problem oriented than solution oriented
How do dark personalities pose threats in companies?
A company gets inflicted more by the problems from inside than from outside. Thus, the presence of dark personality traits directly impacts company functions.
- Data misuse: An organisation has highly confidential data at various levels –especially the financial- and needs to be handled carefully. If employees in such sensitive departments belong to the dark personality triad, there is high risk involved in entrusting them with such responsibilities.
- Leadership misuse: These behaviours are mostly conspicuous when a leader possesses it. Leaders with dark personalities make the subordinates feel less empowered and appreciated. The dark intentions can also be manifested in their various decision-making processes.
How to deal with dark personalities?
Manoj Agarwal says, “Such matters are critical to the company’s wellbeing and reputation and hence should be dealt with care. I suggest that for critical decisions, there has to be face to face communication. The person under question should be confronted over the matter by the HRs and other authorised persons. In fact, we should be vigilant enough to nip antisocial elements in the bud itself. But, if you find yourself in the middle of a critical incident, then better take strict disciplinary actions against the person.”
We should be vigilant enough to nip antisocial elements in the bud itself.
“In the initial stages, when you see the person’s mal-adjusting behaviour, you can try changing the nature of his work like from team to individual or changing his work environment. It is also important that when a new person is hired, he should be briefed well about the policies and rules of the company. The rules of ethics and behaviour should also be well charted out and communicated well to the new employees.”
Many people also perceive psychological counselling as a means to tackle dark personalities. Providing a vent or a listener to share one’s fears and insecurities may prove to be an effective way to help dark personalities lead a good life.
How do employee engagement techniques help to keep dark traits under check?
Another way to deal with distressed and mal-adjusted employees is to keep stress levels under check and create a positive environment for work. Employee engagement surveys help us understand whether employee are happily engaged. Appreciation and recognition programs help to make employees feel motivated and accepted for their contribution in the organization.
Appreciation and recognition programs help to make employees feel motivated and accepted for their contribution in the organization.
According to psychological findings, rewarding any behaviour helps to strengthen it and it gets repeated. So, whereas when the employee feels unrecognised/unappreciated for his good performance, there are chances he discontinues such behaviour. To reward any behaviour means to reinforce it and desire its continuity.
How does Xoxoday’s engagement platform help to reinforce positive behaviour among employees?
- 360 degree engagement:
Xoxoday’s engagement platform offers features such as feedback, engagement, rewards, recognition and in-team communication helps to strengthen healthy bonds among employees.
- Early warning systems:
The enterprise system also gives early warning signs of anomalies, negativity and demotivation in employee.
- Engagement program planning, execution and evaluation :
Organizations need to strictly control and overview the effectiveness of their employee engagement programs. The Xoxoday system allows integrating performance monitoring with employee welfare. Employee engagement programs can be created with clear objectives that rightly balance and nurture the professional and personal well-being of the team.
Dark personalities thrive on the negligent behavior of the authorities. In organizations where there are no means of healthy exposure for employees to the authorities and HRs - there are higher chances of antisocial ideas to shape up and be cultivated. Platforms that have employee engagement tools like Xoxoday, help to keep negative behavior under check.