I've always wondered...
I’ve always wondered…

Jim Fallon brought up some disturbing points about his own inability to recognize psychopathy in himself (in The Psychopath Inside; you should read it). Ronson admits to having the same questions about himself in The Psychopath Test. Even I wondered if I might not display some psychopathic tendencies. It’s hard not to when you’re reading about psychopaths.

My grandmother, a voracious reader and a lifetime fan of crime/mystery serials, admits to the same self-doubts. It’s hard not to suspect yourself and others of disturbing and potentially life-threatening disorders when you’re mentally steeped in them for a few hours or days (depending on how long it takes you to read a book). I mean, who isn’t fascinated by the Body Farm?

For those of us who work outside the home on a daily basis, it’s hard not to attribute psychopathic traits onto coworkers and bosses (or at least suspect some of them). There’s potentially some actual grounding there – the sub-field of psychopathic study has long been interested in the prevalence of psychopaths at the top tiers of the world’s businesses and organizations. Psychopaths, it turns out, tend to make dynamic (if not always good) leaders.

Fast Company published a fascinating article on the subject in 2005, complete with a huge background image of the infamous Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Not surprisingly, Bob Hare (the creator of the PCL-R) is quoted liberally throughout the article. I suppose Mr. Hare was not quite so professionally opposed to journalistic, entertainment-type applications of the PCL-R in 2005 as he become in 2011 following the publication of Mr. Ronson’s book.

There are some interesting points in the article not raised in either Fallon or Ronson’s book. For instance, an entrepreneurial CEO has identity tied to the company’s success or failure. There’s this notion that they will have a devotion or loyalty outside themselves (ie: to the company) that makes it nearly impossible to be a psychopath, who are only (supremely) self-serving. There’s also this notion, although never stated explicitly, that psychopaths are really good at running companies. Their specific skill set makes them extraordinary at steering the helm of a giant, complex ship.

Ronson mentions it, and seems kind of tickled by it. But otherwise, everyone else I’ve read for Psychopath Week seems highly disturbed by the notion that psychopaths could be running the world.

That’s where I’ve been spending some good energy mentally marinating recently. Is being a “low-level” psychopath that bad? It seems like it serves those individuals pretty dang well. It also tends to mean (generally) good things for profit margins. Mostly, lay-psychopaths are only bad news when you have to have relationships with them, because they don’t really follow “the Rules.”

giveaway_psychopathtest2So take this quiz, find out if your boss is, in fact, a psychopath, and then read some books about it for fun. (For the record, NONE of my current bosses are psychopaths… disappointingly.) And enter the contest to win one for free. (Click on the image above to enter.)

Psychopath Week: Is My Boss a Psychopath?!
Tagged on:                         

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *