Learning from Psychopaths

Are you serious? We can learn something from psychopaths?

Well according to Kevin Dutton a Oxford University Research Psychologist we can!

When we use the term psychopath we are not talking about the Hannibal Lector  serial killer cliche .  In fact the typical traits of a psychopath as recognised by Clinical Psychologists are rather interestingly  : charm, focus, mental toughness, ruthlessness, mindfulness and action orientation.  Psychopathy is apparently  better described as a continuum rather than a simple you are one or not the difficulties arise if you are high on all the named traits.

In moderation I think you can see how they could  be helpful in a business context.

Take living in the moment and not worrying about tomorrow or mindfulness as we might call it a  common trait in people with psychopathic tendencies. Well this can be an amazingly effective  strategy to reduce mental rumination, anxiety and boost resilience.  It is not unreasonable to assume that an  appropriate mix of charm, focus and a smidgeon of ruthlessness could predispose someone for long-term life success.

So what about the prevalence in Business?

The British Psychopath Survey is the first survey to designed to assess the prevalence of psychopaths in the entire workforce. Participants completed an online Levenson Self report Psychopathy scale  and then received their score.  The sample size was 5400 and it was grouped into 50 individual professions and then these were ranked against each other.

So the top 10 least and most psychopathic professions in the UK were… drum roll please

Most Psychopathic Professions     Least Psychopathic Professions  
CEO Care Worker
Lawyer Nurse
Media TV and Radio Therapist
Salesperson Craftsperson
Surgeon Beautician
Journalist Charity Worker
Police Officer Teacher
Cleric Creative Artist
Chef Doctor
Civil Servant Accountant









We can only speculate about how similar or different New Zealand’s results might be however there is a stronger prevalence in so called “high achievers” .

You can find out more at the authors rather” racy website” here   and even take the test yourself if you are interested.

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