This post is a continuance of my prior post on evil in organizational cultures.
The “dark triad” — psychopaths, narcissists and machiavellians — represents a small part of the population. What unties this group of destructive personalities is that they lack empathy for other human beings and care only about themselves. Some end up in correctional institutions while others end up in leadership positions where they create dog-eat-dog cultures or cultures that are indifferent to human beings (this is opposed to Servant Leaders who create “Connection Cultures”).
For some interesting thoughts on psychopaths in the C-suite, see this post by Larry Kahaner of the McGowan Fund and the link in his post to an article entitled “The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis” that appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics. The book and movie entitled The Corporation make the argument that organizations that care only about profit have effectively become psychopathic.
The way to keep members of the dark triad out of positions of leadership and out of organizations is to educate everyone so that they understand what a healthy culture is, how it’s based on character strengths and virtues, and how organizations develop people with both character and competence. One project we are working on with Scotiabank is creating a monthly piece for leaders entitled Leading with Character. Each month’s piece highlights a particular character strength, explains how it’s relevant to the organization and how to strengthen one’s leadership in ways that reflect the character strength. If you are interested in learning more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 203-422-6511.