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Are you a good colleague or just a pain in the office?

Evening Standard, 16th April 2007

There is at least one of them in every workplace, disrupting harmony and belittling colleagues.

They send insulting e-mails to rivals while simultaneously buttering up those in positions of power.

Whether an old-fashioned bully or a 'white- collar psychopath', they take all the fun out of an office.

There are countless uncomplimentary names for them, but with typical American forthrightness, Bob Sutton calls them a**holes.

Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Mike Drayton, says many office a**holes fall into two groups.

'Some people bully to pass on the stress of their job to someone else. They will pick the most psychologically and emotionally vulnerable person in the organisation.

'Another character is the white-collar psychopath who takes great pleasure in affecting great psychological pain on others. Often they are charming and do terribly well because their anti-social behaviour is encouraged. They flatter their managers while making the lives of their team hell.'

Dr Drayton says this breeds an atmosphere of fear where people keep their heads down.

For those who feel powerless against the actions of office a**holes, some even steal to even the score.

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