NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A study on the psychopaths among us has made the startling claim that many top corporate executives exhibit behaviors much like the ‘mean boss’ characters in movies that we love to hate.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin found out, plenty of people have bad boss stories.
“She was sure she knew better than anyone else,” Kaysie Pineda said.
The study was authored by researchers at the University of San Diego and Bond University in Australia. It used a sample size of 1,000. It focused on traits like narcissism, superficial charm, lack of concern for others, and selfish, manipulative behaviors.
The research found that as many as 21 percent of bosses studied have psychopath traits, for comparison the prison population came in at 20 percent, and the general public at 1 percent.
Dr. Harris Stratyner, a clinical psychologist at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine said anyone working for a boss with such tendencies is unlucky, because those telltale behaviors are very hard to change.
“You have to have a certain personality to rise and not care who you leave in your wake, and that’s why we see this,” he said.
Dr. Stratyner praised the study for shining a light on this and said some companies once focused primarily on skills and experience and considered personality an afterthought. That’s changing with personality tests prior to hiring. It’s being taken seriously at many companies.
He said personalities are being assessed at workplaces in ways that we may not realize — such as through the use of consultants.
Interestingly, he said sometimes those companies will identify people with psychopathic traits to hire as ‘successful psychopaths’ who, as leaders, will be ruthlessly skilled at getting results at any cost including; laying people off without remorse, and finding ways around the law to bring budgets in line.