You are four times more likely to find a psychopath among executives than among the general population.
In the financial services, it has been estimated that 10% are psychos. (click here for article)
I don’t doubt that a survey of ordinary workers would yield a much higher estimate.
How to Spot One
I got this from Wikipedia (click here):
“The organizational psychopath craves a god-like feeling of power and control over other people. They prefer to work at the very highest levels of their organizations, allowing them to control the greatest number of people. Psychopaths who are political leaders, managers, and CEOs fall into this category.“
Interestingly, all the on-line articles I found said that corporations want to avoid hiring psychopaths. But do they really?
Why Are They In Top Spots?
I received this in a recent email, “For me, I said screw it when I found out the personality tests administered when you apply for promotions were used to find psychopathic or near psychopathic individuals for the higher up corporate positions. To me, if you have to have concienceless mentally ill people run a system then something is inherently wrong with that system.”
My friend’s next email explained, “Concerning the tests, I had a PhD professor and friend learn this the hard way. … He was approached by a big firm and asked to develop a set of personality tests to keep the ‘ruthless sociopath and psychopathic types’ out of higher management…. Well, he makes the test and they go off and use it for the opposite reasons!”
Bosses Don’t Have to be Nuts to be Bosses
Whether or not a particular boss is a psychopath doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. He’s against you whether he’s sane or not. The Preamble to the constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World begins, “”The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.” Maybe it’s overstated, but you get the idea.
Even though we like to believe that we’re choosing our thoughts and prejudices, we don’t. Our ideas come basically from our actual situation. Employees think like employees and bosses think like bosses. You can see that easily any time somebody gets promoted into management. Their world view magically changes overnight!
While I was researching psychopaths, I came across a quote that reminded me that the bosses nearly always use religion and patriotism to confuse us. Here’s what George Bernard Shaw said, “Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.” Maybe that’s overstated, too, but you get the idea.