An Australian study found that 1 in 5 corporate executives can be considered to be a ‘psychopath’. Of the participants 21% showed clinical significant levels of psychopathic traits. Hold up. Does that mean your boss may be a Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) in disguise?
Let’s take a closer look at the term ‘psychopath’
When we look at the diagnostic tool for psychiatrists and psychologists (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM) we see that the term ‘psychopathy’ is not included here. It does contain the category “antisocial personality disorder’. So while the DSM focuses on the social deviant behavior, the term ‘psychopath’ is considered to describe a syndrome broader than that.
For that reason the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is the most widely used tool for diagnosing psychopathy. This tool includes inter-personal and affective characterizations as well as social deviant behavior.
Here is a selection of the traits that this checklist uses to describe the psychopathic personality disorder.
• Glib and superficial charm
• Grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
• Need for stimulation
• Pathological lying
• Cunning and manipulativeness
• Lack of remorse, guilt, empathy and fear.
• Shallow affect
• Early behavior problems
• Lack of realistic long-term goals
• Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
• Many short-term marital relationships
• Antisocial behaviors such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality
Now that we know what is considered to be a ‘psychopath’, let’s take a look at the top 10 jobs that attract the most psychopaths.
The first thing that may come to mind is: Why?
Why do people who are considered psychopaths thrive in these positions?
Well, let’s look again at the personality traits and link them to the job requirements of a CEO. A position like that offers power and requires the ability to make quick, objective decisions. Tough decisions that are too hard to make when faced with feelings of empathy or guilt. To manage such a role with success great self-confidence and having the courage to take risks are required. Plus, having the charm and eloquence will help a lot to reach and stay in such a position.
Now tell me, will you be looking a little differently at your boss tomorrow?