Top Bosses More Likely To Be Narcissistic And Machiavellian
The good news, according to this German study? Actual psychopaths rarely make it to the top ...
MUNICH — It's considered common knowledge throughout the business world that, too often, the wrong people are in executive positions. But does it then follow that all top managers are ultimately sociopaths?
There may be at least a kernel of truth behind every generalization. A study published by University of Bern psychologists in the scientific journal Social Psychological and Personality Sciencedemonstrates that at least some negative personality traits do correlate with career success. It seems that narcissists and Machiavellians really do have the edge over others on climbing the career ladder. The good news is bonafide psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to get nowhere.
Psychologists were focusing in their analysis on the "dark triad," a group of three personality traits: overconfident narcissists who nevertheless need constant approval, Machiavellians who manipulate others, and psychopaths, who are characterized by a lack of impulse control and anti-social behavior.
For the study, the psychologists analysed data from 793 German employees, all at the beginning of their careers. It turned out that the narcissists earned slightly more than employees with smaller egos, and that Machiavellian personalities were more commonly found in leading positions than less manipulative people.
But psychopaths scored badly in both categories: They earned less than employees with more pleasant personalities and they were rarely seen in executive positions. Even in terms of subjective satisfaction, they came off worse.