Are You Working For a Psychopath?

Distressed workers around the country can breathe a collective sigh of relief. It’s not your fault… your boss really is a psychopath! A new study conducted by New York psychologist, Paul Babiak, suggests that there are four times as many psychopaths in positions of corporate responsibility compared to the rest of the nation! These shocking statistics helps shed light on why so many people feel bullied and traumatized in the workplace by their boss. The study surveyed more than 200 management-track professionals and revealed that while just one out of 100 people is likely to have psychopathic traits, the rate among business managers and executives is one out of 25.

James Smithers, President and Founder of Polaris Counseling and an experienced clinician in working with psychopaths through the Department of Corrections, says this.

“Firstly, it is important to clarify what a psychopath really is. Most people think of a psychopath as being a serial killer or rapist. It is certainly true, that under the right circumstances, a psychopath can become a killer. However, the clinical term “psychopath” or “anti-social personality disorder” refers to a set of very specific traits and behaviors. Psychopaths are ego-centric, compulsive liars that feel no empathy and have no conscience when taking advantage of others. They are notoriously charming, manipulative and devious, and tend to appear confident and high functioning.”

“It is of no surprise that there is a preponderance of psychopaths within management positions. These so-called “successful psychopaths” thrive in high-risk, ultra-aggressive and transient environments. Psychopaths are extremely adept at mimicking a variety of apparently functional and even likable traits that serve to charm and manipulate others. In a culture that rewards charismatic, aggressive and cunning behaviors, the psychopath is able to climb his or her way up the corporate ladder with relative ease.”

“With that being said, distinguishing a psychopath from a healthy, high functioning team leader can be tricky, but not impossible. Your boss may be a psychopath if he or she, (1) only seems to care about you when you are performing well and making him or her look good, but is unsupportive, dismissive or aggressive when you are underperforming or need time off due to illness or death in the family, (2) is lazy, tends to underperform in his or her position but has unrealistically and unreasonably high performance and production expectations from you, and (3) breaks or bends the rules to benefit him or herself.”

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