Career Woman

You’ve got this: Dealing with the office psychopath

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Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

“How do I deal with the office psychopath? You’ll come across them often… those guys that do nothing valuable, but spend their time either playing politics or sucking up to the boss.”

My simple answer in dealing with these types of characters is that you must protect yourself.  Typically, people like this are hired because of their ability to charm which is why they are able to keep their positions.  They treat those in higher roles with unlimited amounts of ass kissing when possible (per your politically correct usage above) and those they consider beneath them as peons and serfs.  Despite their willingness to do whatever it takes to excel, they do it at the expense of others and do not work well as a team member.  These interactions can be toxic and draining to deal with because their actions create distrust and suspicion.  This can also create tension if the leader is unaware of their bad behavior.  The psychopath is able to turn the situation around to portray themselves in a much better light than what is actually going on.   They are sometimes even bullies.  I could write another piece on that alone….

In a webinar I gave a few years ago, I told the audience that in dealing with toxic individuals like psychopaths, you can’t change them but you can protect yourself from their toxicity.  It’s important to develop boundaries. Being inconsistent with someone like this only allows an opportunity for problems later.  Toxic individuals have a way of making you question yourself.  Recognize that it isn’t you. This person is a manipulator.  Pick your battles carefully otherwise you will become exhausted which can also be a part of their plan to distract you from what it is really going on. Some of these characters live on the premise of divide and conquer with the goal of enacting their agenda.  Make sure you are leaving work behind when you leave for the day.  These folks have a way of permeating your space.  Purge yourself from it by making sure you are not taking it personal and that you are creating a routine for self-care. Your support system at work and after work are critical.  Build allies that you can confide in and that they provide energy and positivity in your life.  If necessary, remove yourself from the situation but share YOUR truth when you leave. So many people leave jobs without sharing why—it’s the “I got another opportunity” answer with revealing the truth. I’ve done that in the past and in retrospect, I wish I had done it differently.  You don’t have to submit a video of tearing up office supplies and telling the company to kick rocks—keep it classy but real.  Even if the company does nothing about it, you’ve spoken your truth and it’s on record.  They can’t change if they don’t know about it.  Always choose to be a part of the solution and not the problem even when morale is low.  I’m sure you will make the best decision for you because that’s what matters most.  You. Got. This.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe.

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