bearcub wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:42 am
People like to hear good things about their bad habits. I am pretty good at picking out malignant narcissists today. Intuition, well am grateful for that.
The tricky bit there is to override your "gut feel" about someone. They are usually adept at emitting "warm friendlies" and finding (irrelevant) areas of common ground (support for same sports teams, fan of same sports etc.)-- they are "good guys" and "one of us".
In other words, watch what they *do* and where it disjunctures from what they *say*.
That kind of personality type is pretty consistent and uses some pretty consistent defence mechanisms ("gaslighting" in particular - denying they said or did that, or asserting you did or said something that you did not; outrage or denial when confronted with objective evidence; also projection - accusing you of the act or sin that they committed). They don't tend to change much over their lives in my experence.
Conrad Black (of Hollinger infamy) was chucked out of Canada's most prestigious private school for stealing exams, copying them, and selling them to other students. The son of a rich man, he believed that the rules did not apply to him-- hence his misuse of Hollinger's, a public company, assets for his personal use. His trip to a US prison was predicted by this action. EDIT Jeffrey Archer, later convicted of perjury in an unrelated case, charged in the early 1970s for stealing 3 suits out of a Canadian department store (he said that he had forgotten to pay and was found innocent).
A problem is that success at the highest level of organizations requires a degree of narcissism and selfishness - a bit of the psychopath, but not too much. Read any biography of Winston Churchill or George S Patton. Franklin Roosevelt was a far more complex and deceptive individual than either Herbert Hoover or Jimmy Carter, but their presidencies were failures and his was one of the most accomplished in American history (you can say that whether you agree with him or disagree with him). Or comparing Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt, the latter was much less morally admirable, but achieved far more. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are 2 examples of incredibly talented men of vast accomplishments in office who eventually fell to the dark side.
If you've read "Snakes in Suits" there's quite a bit of discussion about how the modern corporation, with its constant reorganizations and changes of direction, makes it relatively easy for such people - before they are found out, they have moved on and their track record is obliterated along with the organizational memory. They often "get results" in the short run but in the long run leave the organization or business unit fatally damaged due to short term decisions and poisoned culture.
"Chainsaw Al" is the classic example from corporate life (Dunlap? at Sunbeam?). Jeff Skilling of Enron might be another.