Robert Greene’s Daily Law for May 10th says that some people who get caught doing something wrong will become overly defensive, animated, self-righteous, and make themselves out as a victim. This is all a ploy to hide the fact of their wrongdoing. It is a ‘tell’ if you will.

This lesson reminded me of two Employee Relations cases I investigated years ago while working as an HR Generalist. When confronted, each person (separate incidences) stood up out of the chair and started saying things like, “How dare you to accuse me of something like this!” And, “I’m a married, God-fearing Christian!”. In both cases, enough witnesses corroborated the initial complaint and appropriate actions were taken.

These were both pretty much open-and-shut investigations. However, I had two cases that proved to be much harder. In one case, it took me six months to gather enough evidence to complete the investigation. In the other, I was never able to gather it and it remained an open investigation after I left the company.

When I think back on it now, the difference between the first two and the latter two cases was the individuals in the latter lacked empathy. I’d bring them in for questioning, and they’d sit across from me cold and stone-faced. They would deny everything. In the first case, even when confronted with undeniable video-based evidence, the person did not accept it and showed no remorse for their behavior.

My takeaway here is that while today’s lesson may apply to normal people that have a conscience, it may not manifest itself in folks that score high on the dark triad personality scale (Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy).