How do people become Snakes?
There are three routes: the psychopathic personality, the severely stressed, and the disaffected.
The psychopathic personality:
Many business leaders are among the most talented, commendable and well-intentioned people. However, our research indicates that occasionally, psychopathic personalities achieve a leadership role. These people have huge potential to damage the organisation and should be removed firmly and swiftly, but this rarely happens.
The psychopathic personality is narcissistic, egocentric and lacking in remorse or concern for others. They can also be charismatic, captivating and clever at manipulation. Such people who rise to the top in business are able to ‘empathize’ with others. They can ‘read people’ and identify their motives, needs, susceptibilities and vulnerability. This might sound very positive but the psychopath then uses this insight not to support but to destroy the individual and potentially the firm – for the enjoyment of the exercise of power over others. They are excellent ‘role players’ – able to give an impression totally at odds with their intentions and to modify their approach to exploit the situation and turn it to their advantage.