Think of your workplace. Now, think of that little prick who always, somehow, seems to get promoted, despite being a little prick who is not even that smart, Nathan. Researchers say that they have discovered why little pricks like this always succeed.
The Wall Street Journal today reports on the state of research into who succeeds and fails in the workplace. People like you, who are humble, self-effacing, sincere, and hardworking? Failures. You will stay at the bottom of the food chain eating the shit of your superiors for a long time, my friend. On the other hand, little pricks like Nathan, who somehow seem to get every break, even though you know for a fact that he doesn't know how to fill out his reports properly, and he's always late to work, and he leans on nice people like you to make himself look good? Yes, well, he is perfect.
But such co-workers may possess a dose of one of the personality traits that psychologists call the "dark triad": manipulativeness, a tendency to influence others for selfish gain; narcissism, a profound self-centeredness; or an antisocial personality, lacking in empathy or concern for others. These traits are well-known for the bad behavior that they can cause when dominant in people's personalities. At milder levels, however, they can actually foster skills that can help people rise through the ranks.
The person most likely to enrage you by being promoted over you even while being less capable than you, researchers say, is someone who is enough of a greedy, self-dealing sociopath to take credit for all your work and stab you in the back to the boss, but not quite enough of a sociopath to prowl the city streets at night stabbing stray prostitutes in the back, with knives.