Is Your Boss a Psychopath?
Psychopathic characteristics have come to dominate business management "success". Business is the model for running all organizations in this country these days including medicine, government, charities, etc. Thus the same values and qualities are used for promotions and elections. If a psychopathic personality is so highly valued, then the most psychopathic individuals would be found at the top. Hmmm....
Maybe we're all nuts
In Bob Lewis' Keep the Joint Running column "Maybe we're all nuts" from 08/08/2005, is more about psychopathic bosses. His column implies that the world has changed and that psychopathy is the norm, even the ideal, in business because everyone else is doing it. Blinders firmly in place, shutting out all distractions to the business of running a business today, I couldn't agree more. However... Is this a sustainable practice?
History would indicate that it is not.
In the past, when employers exceeded large numbers of employees' thresholds of tolerance for abuse, employees resisted, most recently (first half of the 20th century) by forming labor unions. Unions are a shadow of their former selves today but great upheavals are occurring. The breakup of the AFL-CIO could be seen as a further erosion, but the parting unions are saying they're leaving because the AFL-CIO has become complacent and too beholden to the status-quo. They're leaving in order to become more activist in attracting new members and resisting employer abuses. This suggests that the tolerance threshold has been reached.
Psychopathy has long been considered a mental illness that is extremely dangerous to society and possibly to the patient as well. A world of psychopaths does not decrease the danger because everyone is approaching life the same way. Quite the contrary. Without compassion, empathy, remorse and guilt, our daily little differences are amplified and acted on aggressively, escalating to destructive behavior.
For example, psychopathy would seem to be almost a prerequisite for terrorism. To indiscriminately kill large numbers of people in pursuit of one's goals would seem to require an extraordinary lack of concern for others. How many people can hold such a lack of concern up as an ideal in the workplace and shut it off when they walk out the office door?
Perhaps Dr. Hare's recognition of this tragedy will be an important signpost that makes us stop to consider its ramifications.
Will we continue down this self-destructive path until the body count (or the sales of anti-depressants) exceeds our capabilities?
Or will we stop and consider that the world survives, and even flourishes, by constantly seeking balance.
Extremes create progress, but allowed to run unchecked, without resistance, like a short-circuit, are ultimately destructive to society.