Tag Archives: sociopaths

Leaders without any shame – 2014

 

employee_diciplined_1600_wht_56352014 update

Sepp Blatter and the corrupt organisation that is FIFA hit the news again this weekend in a Sunday Times (STexpose.

The FIFA President and his executive committee were secretly given limited edition Swiss watches worth almost £15,000 each during the World Cup despite their own rules saying that gifts should only be of “symbolic or trivial” value.

They will be ordered to give them back by Michael Garcia their ethics investigator after the ST discovered the gifts made by Swiss watch maker Parmigiani which sponsors the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF).

They’ve been told to hand them back by 25 September. Michael Platini is refusing saying he’s a “well-educated man and you don’t give back presents”.

Apparently Garcia has already blocked the gift of two watches worth up to  £42,000 which the World Cup sponsor Hublot had planned to give to Blatter and all 26 members of the ruling executive committee (exco).

So Sepp Blatter and the execs would have received gifts worth £2.5 million during the tournament in poverty-stricken Brazil.

Blatter must  be sick of the ST after they exposed the fiasco surrounding the Qatar bribery scandal. But for three of the executive committee taking a principled stand – the others accepted the gifts –  and reporting the gift to the ethics committee it probably wouldn’t have come to light.

So well done Sunil Gilati, the US exco member, Moya Dodd, the Australian member, and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

As for Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president has previous for not seeing bribery and corruption in front of his eyes.

Updated: 14 September 2014

__________________________________________________________________________

And we turn again to child abuse by men of Pakistani heritage, this time in Rotherham.

An independent report found systematic failures by the Council and Police over an extended period between 2007 and 2013 during which 1,400 girls were raped, trafficked and horribly sexually abused.

The leader of the Council Roger Stone has resigned saying he takes responsibility “on behalf of the whole council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report

Someone who has not yet resigned is Shaun Wright currently PCC responsible for policing in South Yorkshire who was a cabinet member at Rotherham from 2006-2010 responsible for Childrens’ Services. In 2012 he was Deputy Chairman of the Police Authority and objected to the press “picking on Rotherham”.

He’s under a lot of pressure from all sides of government. Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham, said Mr Wright “needs to stand up and be counted for what happened under his watch” and it’s not often I agree with Labour’s Ed Balls but he was quoted as saying;  “Mr Wright should resign…when leadership fails it’s important people take responsibility“.

By tomorrow he may have resigned as PCC but we’ll see.

He hadn’t as at 4 September but hasn’t been seen at his office for a couple of days and is due to appear before Parliament shortly.

Shaun Wright resigned today (16 September 2014) as PCC.

So far no-one at the Council has been disciplined for this disgraceful mess as the Chief Executive Martin Kimber has said that  there’s not enough evidence to prosecute anyone currently there and others have left.  Excuse me Mr Kimber but disciplinary action doesn’t need the same burden of proof as a prosecution. Maybe you should have a word with your HR Director?

Mr Kimber is also leaving the organisation in December he announced on 8 September 2014

Is it too much to hope that those managers who have moved on can still be held to account?

Latest reports say that Rotherham CEO has requested meeting with Doncaster Council where Jackie Wilson is now employed as Assistant Director for Children and Families. She was a senior manager at Rotherham with safe-guarding responsibilities during the years when abuse was going on.

Local police district commander Chief Superintendent Christine Davies also gets a mention for berating Home Office researcher for raising the issue. Where is she now?

The Mayor of Liverpool said he would demand answers from their current Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald who was Rotherham’s Chief Executive from 2011 to 2013.

A tory MP has realised questions about whether Pam Allen who was in charge of child protection at Rotherham from 2004 to 2009 can remain as head of safeguarding at East Riding Council.

And let’s not forget Joyce Thacker OBE who became Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services in 2008 after working in Bradford and Keighley, places also associated with sexual grooming by Pakistani men and where it was also ignored.

She resigned today (19 September 2014) but still has her OBE –  awarded for her work in children’s services!

Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, condemned the ‘blatant’ collective failures by the council’s leadership, concluding: ‘It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered.’

Posted August 2014
For 2013 update and earlier click here:

 

Leaders without any shame – 2013 update

s6000346_22013 update:

So many people I could add. First let me just add the whole of the BBC corporate set-up after the Savile affair and excessive payouts to the former DG and other unsuccessful applicants. That was unbelievable.

And the Sir David Nicholson scandal. He refuses to take responsibility for what happened on his watch at mid-Staffs and since as NHS CEO. He has faced many calls to resign and fall on his sword (well he is a knight) but astonishingly has the backing of the NHS commissioners and the Prime Minister.

Another knight Sir Hector Sants is accused of turning a blind eye when he was head of the FSA during Libor scandal. Barclays bank was one of worst offenders and now employ him on a reputed £3M salary as head of compliance.

Then we had the Senior Fraud Office. The former head, Richard Alderman, was lambasted by the Public Accounts Committee for slovenly leadership. There were unauthorised payoffs of millions of pounds of taxpayers money considered irregular by National Audit Office.

The former Chief Executive Phillippa Williamson, one of the recipients of Alderman’s generosity, wasn’t even appointed through proper channels. She was taken in on secondment by Alderman then made permanent and promoted to Chief Executive. She also lived in the Lake District and claimed £27k for travelling to London 3 times a week.

If the SFO behaves in such a haphazard manner how can they expect to be effective in carrying out their role?

———————

It’s been a while since I added anyone to my leadership hall of shame. Not because I didn’t care any more but there seemed to be too many mediocre leaders receiving high rewards – even when they were found out.

OK Bob Diamond had to go in the end and we had Fred the Shred de-knighted – but he kept the majority of his massive pension (around £350,000 a year plus a lump sum and bonus of several million) more than most of us have any chance of earning when we are working never mind retired.

But a recent news story reminded me how people get way with it because of incompetence by their employers.

Steve Garner was Head of Children’s Services for Rochdale Council after being promoted from being a manager three years ago. So the systematic abuse of vulnerable children was happening on his watch. He’s now been allowed to resign without any disciplinary action being taken against him.

A review by the Council’s safeguarding board into 5 years of sexual exploitation of girls by a group of predatory Asian men, mainly of Pakistani heritage, who were part of a sex-grooming network which eventually led to 9 of them being jailed, found that in 2007 fifty girls aged between 10 and 17 were identified as having links with local taxi and food takeaway businesses. (NB a further 76 were identified at the start of 2013)

Yet when these girls were referred to social service no action was taken despite concerns by police and care workers as it was thought they were making their own lifestyle choices – remember some of these girls were as young as 10!

The MP for Rotherham – another area with similar problems – said “it was outrageous that the local authority was allowing its senior managers to sneak off without being held to account for their actions”. 

He said that Mr Garner was the person within the department who influenced the culture which failed the victims. He went on to say that he thought the manager should have been suspended months ago, a point most people would find it hard to disagree with, and for that non-action you have to look at the employer, Rochdale Council.

Mr Garner was probably continuing in his predecessor’s footsteps as he was following a series of internal appointments – not always a good thing if change needs to be made.

We could probably add former CEO Roger Ellis to this list as well as he told the parliamentary inquiry (which Steve Garner has declined to attend) that he knew nothing about the child abuse although he was in post for 10 years and it happened on his watch! Like Sharon Shoesmith he says he feels no personal responsibility for any of it. He’s a lawyer so presumably knows his rights if no-one else’s.

The Council’s new Chief Executive Jim Taylor (formerly Director of Children’s Services at Tameside and a maths teacher before that) said that Mr Garner’s resignation was not directly connected to the report and that he would be willing to take disciplinary action against any staff who were identified as culpable after an internal review has been concluded. He said that Mr Garner would not receive any redundancy pay.

Well why would he as they are replacing him, following the thematic review of multi-agency responses to the sexual exploitation of children, to “allow someone else to take forward recommendations”.

Allowing people potentially facing disciplinary action is a common practice in the Public Sector including the Police service eg only this week Sir Norman Bettison has decided to retire in the wake of the report from the  Hillsborough Independent Panel as it enables people who might have been disciplined to retire on their pensions.

It seems that no-one is being held accountable for the whole sorry saga which has been going on for a lot, lot longer than this report suggests and before Mr Garner’s time in post. Nevertheless the Rotherham MP is correct; leaders are highly influential in setting the culture of an organisation and in this case it was clearly a failure of leadership as well as a lack of moral certainty usurped by political correctness on race issues.

In some respects this is similar to the Sharon Shoesmith case (see below).

With Sharon Shoesmith’s distasteful victory in the Courts we saw yet another example of leaders who refuse to take responsibility for their actions – or in this case inactions.

Her reported comments that I don’t do blame” and “this is a victory” has a hollow ring when you think about Baby P. Shoesmith was appointed to make sure that the Climbie case in 2000 was not repeated. She clearly failed to do this and the Courts upheld Ofsted’s findings which described the department as the worst they had ever seen.

At least the leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for the children’s’ services resigned, but not Shoesmith. And she got her compensation for unfair dismissal thanks to Ed Balls heavy-handed interference (but what was HR doing?). So big compensation for being rubbish at her job.

The last person I  added to my list was Barclay’s Bob Diamond who told the House of Commons Treasury Committee parliamentary committee earlier this year that “There was a period of remorse and apology for banks, that period needs to be over” and “the biggest issue is how do we put some of the blame game behind us?”.

He also said that they were sensitive and were listening. I don’t remember any bankers listening and refusing bonuses or showing any remorse at all!

We expect a lot of leaders and expect them to be good role models but that’s not what we get a lot of the time. Leaders with narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies often show their dark side when under pressure.

The fact that “Fred the Shred” felt it necessary to take out a superinjunction to protect the public learning about his alleged affair with a senior member of staff at a time that the bank was going under at least shows some self-awareness, albeit in his own interest, that his behaviour might be seen as counter-productive. But on the whole people like Diamond and Shoesmith don’t seem to possess a lot of emotional intelligence.

4 June 2011: It would be so easy to add Sepp Blatter to the list after his Napoleonic “coronation” but this week’s nomination has to be Bernie Ecclestone after his decision to go to Bahrain with his Formula 1 circus. He obviously needs the $40m but even the sponsors are nervous about the effect on their reputations.

Britain has close relations with Bahrain but given the suppression of protests there and the possibility of a terrorist attack it’s a dubious decision. Ecclestone might have a nose for a commercial deal but scores zero for ethical leadership.

12 July 2011: I’ve been trying to decide who is worse, Rebecca Brooks or any member of the Murdoch family. But the “red top” who oversaw the demise of the News of the World, which she described as a toxic brand and thereby besmirched the reputations of the 200 staff, has to be on a par with Sharon Shoesmith for not accepting any responsibility for what happened.

Leaders who won’t fall on their sword, who believe they are right, who blame everyone else (Brooks was editor at the time of the hacking) don’t deserve to be leaders. Why did Murdoch back her? She said she was a lightning rod for criticism.

Perhaps it keeps the heat off son James Murdoch. Rebecca should remember that no matter how much a favoured “daughter” she thinks she is, blood is thicker than water (and true to form Murdoch is now back at BSkyB).

Rebecca Brooks eventually lost her job, albeit with a reported £1.7M payoff and use of an office and chauffeur-driven car for two years. Perhaps they’re waiting for the Sun on Sunday to be published.

And whilst we are on this topic let’s add Assistant Commissioner John Yates to the list for complete lack of leadership. OK he has apologised, admitted that the Metropolitan Police’s reputation is “very damaged“, appears not to have carried out his responsibilities properly when he mishandled the review of the 2007 inquiry (apparently he decided in a matter of hours even though there were 11,000 pages of notes involved), but he’s not resigned either.

James is still trying not to show how incompetent, or devious, he is but it looks like the Murdoch dynasty has upset too many shareholders to continue for another generation.

I previously let Sepp Blatter off the hook because of Bernie Ecclestone’s Bahrain fiasco but after this week and his belated apology and refusal to resign – and why would he quit the corrupt gravy train that is FIFA – he’s got to be latest nomination for a leader completely without principles and any awareness of what the public think about him and his ideas.

He’s not the only one in football to defend the indefensible this month eg spitting at people is culturally acceptable in South American countries – really? So Sepp Blatter joins my leadership hall of shame.

Businessman

Leadership – the dark side 

Businessman Psychopaths, Narcissists and now Machiavellian types, somewhere in an office near you, or maybe even running your business,according to Holly Andrews and Jan Francis-Smythe, writing in the May 2010 issue of Professional Manager.

In an earlier post on sociopaths and narcissists; “Leadership – do you have what it takes? I drew attention to some US research on Narcissistic types by Shnure about their impact in organisations. Now Andrews and Francis-Smythe, at the University of Worcester, see these personality types as even more of a potential threat in the current economic climate.

Describing these extreme personality types which make up the “dark side triad“: narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance – “It’s all about me“; psychopaths are also ego-centric and lack empathy; Machiavellian types also  manipulate others for their own purpose, shows there is some overlap but all essentially exploit others in some way.

Narcissists can be charming and even psychopaths have superficial charm which gets them into positions of power. So the authors set out some suggestions to help organisations cope with these extreme personality types starting at the recruitment stage. They also point out that they are not making clinical diagnoses even though they are using some terms found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders.

410WJzBZ-tL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_The article includes a list of references but if you are interested in this topic I recommend Why CEOs fail: the 11 behaviours that can derail your climb to the top and how to manage them” by Dotlich, Cairo et al. This is based on research and the work of Robert Hogan who developed a psychometric questionnaire to measure these “dark side” factors and should be essential reading for all HR managers and would-be company directors.

Adrian Furnham’s closing keynote address at the 2010 ABP conference focused on CEO derailment. Apart from toxic personalities he suggested that there also need to be a group of people happy to follow them and a supportive culture. An idea echoed by Ali Kennedy in the weekend newspapers who said that politicians were essentially “sociopaths with good intentions” working in a “psychologically corrosive atmosphere“.

From a coach’s perspective these can be difficult clients to say the least. Lacking in key areas of emotional intelligence they can be charming but don’t like to be challenged.

Helping them to be more self-aware and understand others is a start but their goal is likely to be even better at what they do (exploiting others) which poses an ethical dilemma. (It is a bit like providing social skills training to psychopaths: counter-productive if it means they just get better at fooling people).

So how successful are psychopaths at work? Researchers in America trying to find psychopaths who were successful in life asked their colleagues in the American Psychological Association who specialised in Psychology and Law if they recognised any amongst their clients or acquaintances.

51OAaYUszbL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_-1Hare’s definition of psychopaths is;”‘social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life … completely lacking in conscience and feeling for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.’ (His assessment checklist is commonly used to determine if someone is a psychopath and is described in Jon Ronson’s book “The Psychopath Test”.

They received replies from over a hundred people and asked them to describe these “psychopaths” and complete a diagnostic tool for that person (creating a remote profile). They concluded that there was evidence to suggest there were such people as “successful psychopaths” (not sure if unsuccessful psychopaths were just those in prison or who hadn’t been caught yet).

The key difference between successful and standard psychopaths seemed to be in conscientiousness as the individuals described by the survey respondents were the same as prototypical psychopaths in all regards except they lacked the irresponsibility, impulsivity and negligence and instead scored highly on competence, order, achievement striving and self-discipline.

For more information go to Hunting Successful Psychopaths.

Post first published in 2010

Leadership – do you have what it takes?

LeaderNow is as good a time as ever to think about leadership, something sadly missing some might say in government and banking.

Research shows that as many as 10% of leaders could have narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies lurking behind a charming veneer. They are self-obsessed, leave a trail of casualties in their wake, and like Typhoid Mary are seemingly unaffected by their actions.

Organizational psychologist Kathy Schnure’s  research, presented at the 25th annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and reported in Management Issues, compared ratings of leadership potential for those who have high levels of narcissism to those who show low-to-average levels on the ‘narcissism scale’.

She found those displaying strong narcissistic tendencies – things like exploitation/entitlement, leadership/authority, superiority/arrogance, and self-absorption/self admiration – had a significantly higher rating of potential leadership abilities than those with low-to-average scores.

“Those results would indicate the vision, confidence and pride in their own accomplishments could presumably translate into effective leadership in an organization or team,” Schnure said. On the other hand, while narcissists do gain leadership roles, often based on their charisma and ability to persuade others to accept their point of view, some of the underlying traits, or dark sides” will eventually surface, preventing any “good” leadership,” she added.

Timothy Judge, an organizational psychologist at the University of Florida, says a prime example of this “dark side” is an overblown sense of self-worth

“Narcissists are intensely competitive, self-centered, exploitive and exhibitionistic. They tend to surround themselves with supplicants they see as inferior. When they are challenged or perceive competition, they often derogate and undermine anyone, even those closest to them, they perceive as threats (and unfortunately, they are vigilant in scanning for threats)“.

Schnure said  leaders who are charismatic are not necessarily narcissists. “Charismatic leaders are not exploitive; they do not trample others to get what they want. Rather they display empathy toward employees” she added.

And what about leaders who are described as “charismatic“, for example Obama or the late Steve Jobs at Apple? Rob Goffee, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School and co-author of  “Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?”, quoted in an article in The Times “It’s not all about being charismatic“, in 2009, thinks that strong leaders are good at developing disciples, but not successors.

“The people that make leaders charismatic are their followers. Barack Obama, for example, is clearly charismatic, but he’s also enigmatic. You can’t pin him down and so he allows us to project our dreams and hopes on to him.”

So just what does it take to be a leader? According to the Work Foundation there are 5 key skills:

  1. Seeing the bigger picture
  2. Understanding that talk is work
  3. Giving time and space to others
  4. Going through performance
  5. Putting “we” before “me”

Source: The Guardian article “Follow Your Leader?” 16/01/2010

And based on good practice and wide experience I also offer the following quick read: 10 ways to be a leader 10Ways2bALeader

First published 8 April 2010

Alpha males – Everything is their fault

Whether it’s football or business alpha males are taking a kicking.

The French have already blamed the Premier League for turning their players into “over-paid egos” and Michael Ballack made a similar point before the game against Germany saying English players had to lose their egos and their narcissistic “me, me, me” attitude for the sake of the team.

In The Times(1/7/010) Germany’s twice-scoring Mueller is reported as saying “alpha males cost England”. He said the alpha male culture has destroyed team camaraderie and there is a surfeit of leaders (witness Terry’s failed coup d’etat). “… there are so many alpha males and you don’t just need chiefs you also need indians. Are the players willing to go the extra mile for their team-mates?” he asks. And in the same newspaper the French have described their team as; “rotten, spoilt, brats”.

And who can disagree. The sight of England players being molly-coddled with their top of the range earphones, game boys and special sleep pillows as they arrived, then being shepherded back in black glass vehicles like visiting VIPs to avoid meeting the public rather than as a shamed national team. At least the French made their team fly back second class!

18 months ago Management Today featured a couple of interesting articles. Baroness Kingsmill (some may think her a slice short of a full loaf of course) predicts the end for Alpha Males ie “people who think work-life balance is for wimps and women”  and who are “insulated by their egos,,, have no self-awareness” and “see feedback as a personal attack”.

In other words sociopathic and without emotional intelligence.

On a similar note in the same journal Emma de Vita bemoans the testosterone fuelled culture in the city and suggests women could fix things “pooper scoopers in hand”. Amongst her polemic she makes some interesting points about leadership styles and cites some research at London Business School that found that having a 50-50 gender balance produced more effective, stable and innovative teams; a finding that the Norwegian government  put into practice in January.

In Norway all public companies are required by law to have 40% of females on the board and Spain has given companies 10 years to follow suit. France is currently considering a 40% quota as well an increase from the current 10% (similar to that in the UK). See: http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/865053/


It’s tough at the top

CEOs are leaving their jobs sooner since the recession, according to research by Booz & Co reported by James Ashton in the Sunday Times (13 June 2010).

CEO turnover has flattened out at 14% (still up from 11% in 2001) each year but fewer are getting dismissed – only 23% in 2009 compared with 35% in 2008.

And average tenure has shrunk from 8.1 to 6.3 years over the past 10 years. Interestingly that means that although they start the job a little older than in the past they still leave it at the same age: 53.2 years in 2009.

Companies and shareholders are now more impatient for results and CEOs are also more likely to see the job as a project rather than a lifetime career. It helps if you have worked for the company previously as internal promotions seem to last almost 2 years longer than average whereas outsiders are more likely to be forccd out.

The same weekend Ruth Sunderland wrote a well-referenced piece in The Observer: “Superheroes and supervillains – why the cult of the CEO blinds us to reality“.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/13/tony-hayward-terry-leahy-corporate-governance

She started by comparing the contrasting fortunes of the CEOs from BP and Tesco and suggests that businessmen are idolised out of all proportion and then become victims of a witch hunt when things go wrong (a bit like football managers then so watch out Capello if England don’t do well!).

Some people argue that the “cult of the chief executive” requires bosses to be charismatic leaders rather than competent managers. Most modern CEOs don’t talk about making money but about “vision and values” and have a “mission statement” rather than a job description.

She quotes research that shows that fame and charisma, with a few exceptions, has little relationship to high company performance. In the past entrepreneurs like Rockefeller (founder of Standard Oil) or Victorian soap baron Lord Lever were larger than life but they were bringing something new to market.

With the exception of people like James Dyson, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, most CEOs are not entrepreneurs (and haven’t invested in the companies which begs the question of why they get paid so much when they are not risking their own money – but that’s a different post).

Perhaps in difficult times we look for inspiration, influenced by the celebrity TV programmes like The Apprentice in both the US and the UK. Some CEOs undoubtedly succumb to narcissistic behaviour, a topic I have touched on more than once.See: “Leadership – the dark side”.

One contributor suggested that many CEOs are driven to succeed by trauma in their childhood which may help them to super-achieve but not have the personality to cope with failure. (This is not true for everyone. See: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you“). Egotistical CEOs may feel the need to take more risks to maintain or enhance their profiles which can then lead to spectacular failures with nowhere to hide.

There are also cultural differences with companies from Anglo-American meritocratic societies tending to go for star performers compared with the emerging Asian businesses preferring a more team-based approach.

As Professor  Froud from MBS said; ” … in a large organisation success or failure doesn’t hang on any one individual” but an anonymous FTSE100 CEO said; “Leadership is emotional. It is about winning hearts and minds to a common purpose. It’s not just about one person, but it starts with one person”.

All this reminds me of Harry Truman’s comment about the heat and the kitchen.

Emotional Intelligence and empathy

Guest blog from EI4U

Emotional Intelligence and empathy In an earlier post about Emotional Intelligence and marshmallows I referred to the findings of a Demos think-tank report which reported on an increase in social mobility between the end of WW2 and the 1970s followed by a period of stagnation up to 2000. Amongst the three traits that were most important for children to improve their social lot was empathy - the ability to be sensitive to other people, to read their emotions and understand non-verba … Read More

via EI 4u