C-suite screening has always been lukewarm.
The general practice involves boards relying on personal recommendations when hiring new members while paying attention to the candidateâ€™s industry reputation. It is shocking to note that every time HR directors recruit somebody to the board, they use a different process; they are well aware of the potential scandal that could affect their organisation, but they leave the company open to reputational risk.
These revelations of hiring a â€œdetermined but unqualifiedâ€ candidate are quite disturbing. However, a recent news piece will startle the HR community and businesses across the world â€“ â€˜C-suite Psychopathyâ€™. A recent study by forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks shows that one in 100 people in the general community and one in five people in the prison system are considered psychopathic and that these traits are common in the upper echelons of the corporate world, with a prevalence of between 3 percent and 21 percent.
Psychopathic behaviour at the C-suite level includes insincerity, a lack of empathy or remorse, egocentricity, and superficiality. Such leaders deal with their subordinates in unscrupulous ways, such as with a combination of fear, public humiliation, threats, and punishment. However, they present a positive persona to their superiors and are promoted for this perceived image.
Additionally, companies are less likely to screen current employees when promoting them to the board level.
As such, these toxic individuals cause great
harm to the organisation by destroying
relationships, damaging work units and
putting the entire company at risk for legal
Such leadership negatively affects business performance and damages the culture; the HR puts their employees at risk of bullying and other abuse. As a result, the business may end up losing several good employees who would probably file harassment suits against the executives with psychopathic tendencies.
Moreover, the financial crisis can be severe – causing falling share prices and a considerable decrease in company profits. At high level of organisational hierarchy, psychopaths may engage in unethical and illegal behaviours. This suggests that inappropriate screening is being carried out based on the level of risk posed by the individual.
Unscreened leadership is a major insider threat that dwarfs the severity of external threats. It is presumed that people being promoted to or applying for a board position will be trustworthy, and their application and interview will be entirely faultless, but people at all levels are capable of fraud and embellishment.
Further, certain information can change post-hiring such as personal finances, criminal status, business interests, directorships and affiliations, which can have a drastic impact on an individualâ€™s intentions.
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