Quickpost: Jobs for psychopaths – redux

It’s been proved: senior British managers and executive officers share many personality traits with psychopaths at Broadmoor.

mindhacks refers to an article on the ‘successful psychopath’. The relevant findings are:

The researchers found that the business managers scored, on average, more highly on measures of histrionic, narcissistic and compulsive personality than samples of former and current patients. These personality traits are thought to reflect characteristics such as superficial charm, lack of empathy and perfectionism. All of which could be potentially useful in the cut-throat business world.   However, unlike the Broadmoor patients, the business managers scored lower on antisocial, borderline and paranoid personality traits, reflecting lower levels of aggression, impulsivity and mistrust. Exactly the sort of personality traits that are likely to cause problems with senior managers and the law.The authors of the study suggest that the business managers may be examples of ‘successful psychopaths’ – “people with personality disorder patterns, but without the characteristic history of arrest and incarceration”.  

I’m not sure about the last bit. Are business-types (and politicians?) more narcissistic than psychopathic, or vice versa? Still I thought readers would be interested given our ongoing discussions.

Board, B.J. & Fritzon, Katarina, F. (2005). Disordered personalities at work. Psychology, Crime and Law, 11, 17-32.

15 thoughts on “Quickpost: Jobs for psychopaths – redux

  1. It seems from this research that the execs were flaming narcissists and not psychopaths. Maybe what DM-Smith has proposed is a continuum:

    healthy narcissism – malignant narcissism – psychopathy – competitiveness.

    No, make that a circle.

  2. Going back over the years and looking at the various bosses I’ve had, I’d have to say yeah, they were all narcissists to one degree or another. I have another word for them, more common but just as descriptive.

  3. ian – Narcissists do seem to be drawn to/chosen for high profile jobs. They like the attention. (Psychopaths too, they like the power.)

    Some say that these types not only get these jobs, they’re the ones best suited for them. What comes to my mind is the TV show ‘The Apprentice’. Donald Trump seems to be the classic charismatic, ruthless boss. But the senior managers who actually give the apprentices their tasks, etc. seem to be absolutely staid, sober, serious, uncharismatic. So I don’t know. (Except I know which type I’d rather work for!)

    (Good to have you on board. One of my readers alerted me to your site – it’s a great read!)

  4. barbara – The little I’ve read about NLP has struck me as both quite believable and highly suspect. I’d be keen to learn more about how it’s misused.

    Do you have some illustrative examples? (I’m starting a spin-off blog – you might want to submit something short and sharp there: http://dailycon.wordpress.com)

    1. Hi, Your post is very old but if you are still interested, I suggest that you search for ‘dark NLP’, techniques taught by a man called Kenrick Cleveland.


  5. I think I sent you a link to an article called LURES OF THE ONLINE PREDATOR… if you want I can send it again.

    It was based on the work of Robert Greene – one of the Seduction Science authors (along with people with Ross Jeffries, et al)

    A synopsis of Greene’s NLP based methodology can be found here:

    I have completely lost track in my anti-Domestic Violence work of the numbers of people who tell me their abuser used these EXACT tactics on them. Many of them in sales, marketing or advertising (where it is used effectively).

  6. barbara – Gulp!

    Thanks for this. I’m doing some thinking on the samenesses and diffrences of psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism. (My immediate thought is that waht you’re describing sits better with the third – the first being too darn idle and the second needing the other’s adoration too much.) Once I’ve got some clarity I might post on the issue you raise.

  7. Ross Jeffries is known as the king of Speed Seduction (using NLP: http://www.seduction.com/
    (don’t throw up 😉 )

    Of course when caught these dudes BLAME SHIFT like crazy or disappear with no accountability.

    Also you might want to give this blog a read. Kathy’s the victim of narcissists and I find her reading on-point and clear. She’s on my daily reads:


    Just trying to think outside the box with you, Dr. Steve 🙂 I am happy some Dr.s are FINALLY giving these pathologicals their 15-minutes of attention.

  8. barbara – Thanks for the links.

    The baldless/brazeness of the claims is probably part of what convinces – turning an obvious objection to your own advantafe (if an ugly man like me can…).

    I don’t know about Jeffries seducing women, but he probably seduces plenty of dollars out of men’s pockets.

  9. Jeffries is a well documented seducer of women… Unfortunately. There are a number of sites out there that men use to pick up and hone these skills. Unfortunately.

    What is stunning to me, is that many sociopaths & narcissists do these ‘seduction’ and mind control ploys intrinsicly (sp?) – as part of their make up. Probably learned through trial and error in their youth.

    Here’s more:

    There’s loads more here:

  10. barbara – Geez! I suspect that psychopaths, etc. learn manipulative skills very early.

    We can only hope that regular folks can’t imbibe this way of living as thoroughly. The prevalence of these websites suggests to me that it’s not just a new jacket that one tries on.

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