In business, the adage holds true that one bad apple can spoil the bunch – even one dishonest manager can cost companies hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, in low morale and lost productivity. Unfortunately, history shows that there is more than one bad apple in the business world, and dishonest work behaviors, such as staff abuse, rule bending, and theft cost the economy billions each year.
How can organizations combat dishonesty in their management team? They can start by recognizing why dishonest individuals are such enticing hires. Unfortunately, the same attractive qualities we find in these candidates are the same qualities that will short change us in the long run.
1. Charisma – Psychologists recorded 73 first-year college students individually introducing themselves to a group. The study found students with narcissistic tendencies excelled at making initial impressions. They used more charming facial expressions, a more confident speaking tone, were funnier, wore more fashionable clothes and had trendier haircuts.
2. Self-absorption – The second characteristic is an unusual degree of self-absorption, or, more to the point, a relentless drive for self-advancement. These individuals possess a ruthless dedication to self-advancement to the extent that other people lose their value as humans and become objects to be manipulated.
3. Self-Deception – Ben Dattner, author of The Blame Game, notes that narcissists “lead with the main purpose of receiving personal credit or glory. When things go wrong or they make mistakes, they deny or distort information and rewrite history in order to avoid getting blamed.”
4. Hollow Core Syndrome – The underlying dynamic that unifies these themes is a pattern of personality characteristics called the hollow core syndrome. The hollow core refers to people who are overtly self-confident, but who are privately self-doubting and unhappy.