Is your boss a psychopath? Well, probably not, as some researchers estimate that only one percent of the general population qualify for the label.
However, not all psychopaths are the serial killers portrayed in the movies. And, depending upon your chosen profession, your boss is more or less likely to share character traits with true psychopaths. Forbes listed 10 professions most likely to attract psychopaths, with CEO at the top, followed by lawyers, folks who work in TV or radio, salespeople and surgeons.
The bottom line is that your manager doesn’t need to score high on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist in order to be a problem for your career. If your boss has character traits consistent with psychopathy, he or she will not be pleasant or rewarding to work for.
Look for these red flags:
They Appear Shallow and Uncaring
Some people make great first impressions, but when you start dealing with them on regular basis or get closer to them, something seems wrong. Perhaps they lack empathy for others. Because they don’t care how others feel, psychopaths are more likely to hurt other people, at least when it is convenient for them to do so. One red flag is when your boss does not care if you get hurt, as a normal person would.
A psychopath does not feel remorse for things that are legitimately his fault; for example, perhaps your boss didn’t comply with safety rules and as a result you were injured on the job. A psychopathic boss will be annoyed that you inconvenienced him by requiring attention and resources such as medical care or time to recover at home. A person who does not care about your well-being is not good to work for.
A psychopathic boss might ignore safety rules and then be annoyed that you require medical care.
They’re Charming and Manipulative
Psychopaths often make great first impressions, but don’t be fooled by their superficial charm. Psychopaths are insincere. They are likely to lie in order to manipulate others and get what they want. Sometimes psychopaths con others with compliments to get on somebody’s good side, or promises that will remain unfulfilled. Other times, they may come across as angry or threatening. Threats are another form of manipulation.
It is best to be able to trust the person you are working for. If your boss lies to you or manipulates you for his or her own benefit, you may be working for a psychopath.
They’re Prone to Violence
One quality many psychopaths share is being prone to violence. Psychopaths tend to have a low tolerance for frustration, and their threshold for physical aggression and violence is also low. They may get into multiple physical fights with other people. Even if your boss has never hit you, if he hits other people or the wall, this is not a good sign.
If you do need to quit because your boss is a psychopath — or at least, exhibits psychopathic traits — have your things packed and ready to go ahead of time. Keep a clear path for yourself to the door when you break the news, and celebrate getting away from your destructive boss.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you worked for someone who shares some of these traits? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.