I’m a psychologist – here are 5 signs your boss is a psychopath and the sinister trait they share with serial killers
THERE’S no question that to get to the top in business, you need to be ruthless, confident and in control – attributes that psychopaths tend to have.
And, according to Swedish mentalist Henrik Fexeus, where 1% of the general population fits the profile of a psychopath, the statistic goes up to 10% when we’re talking about CEOs and bosses.
He warns: “Not having a fear of failure, being resilient towards others opinions and being able to be a bit ruthless when needed are traits that have been promoted in the business environment – but those are also traits for a perfect psychopath."
So how can you tell if your boss is a psychopath? Here Henrik reveals the signs to look out for…
Many people complain about their bosses micro-managing them throughout the day – and this could be a sign they’re actually a psychopath.
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“Psychopaths think controlling other people is fun,” explains Henrik.
“They will micro-manage you, and manipulate your emotions, but also your situation, maybe even telling you exactly where you can sit.
“This is all just because they can, and because you’re probably going to go along with it.
“Plus, they’re power-hungry. They feel that they deserve the best and they’ll use whatever means they can to get to the top.”
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Addicted to lying
Henrik says a psychopath has “no capacity for empathy,” which means they have no problem with lying – whether that be in a job interview, at work, or just in their everyday life.
“It’s of no concern whether people actually believe in the lie or realise that they're lying,” he adds. “They're not bothered.
“They're very good at it, and they don’t have any qualms about lying about their skill set, their knowledge or how great they are.
“Whether they have to lie, cheat or take credit doesn't concern them as long as it's good for them.”
For this reason, according to Henrik, the people you need to watch out for at work are those who will take credit for your work.
He explains: “A colleague may praise you for some work you’ve done, for instance, and then in the next meeting with the boss, they will take all the credit for it.
“You may try and argue it was your idea – but that’s going to make you look bad to the people higher up!”
Talking about themselves
As well as being able to lie about their abilities, psychopaths are always very narcissistic.
“There's only one person in the world they care about and it's themselves,” says Henrik.
For this reason, they “are extraordinarily good at blaming other people or circumstances” for their mistakes.
“It's never their fault,” adds Henrik.
When it comes to the office, it’s best to look out for the colleagues or bosses spending entire meetings talking about how great they are or just “an inappropriately large amount of time talking about themselves”.
“The only interesting person to talk about, for a psychopath, is themselves,” Henrik adds.
Serial killer Ted Bundy has always infamously been regarded as charismatic and handsome – traits which he exploited to win the trust of both his victims and society as a whole.
Henrik warns it’s usually the most charming people you need to watch out for at work.
“Psychopaths are always very charming and very good at acting,” he says.
“They study other people so they know how to pretend to be concerned or listen to you.
“But they're not concerned about you at all. They're just trying to gain an advantage over you and everyone else.”
Another thing to look out for is that boss who will blow up at the first sign of trouble – then act like it never happened!
If there’s someone in your workplace who you never know what mood they’re going to be in, they could be a psychopath.
Henrik explains: “Psychopaths can be very pleasant in the morning, throw a tantrum in the afternoon, then before you go home, they don't even remember throwing a tantrum and they’re back to being charming again.
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“Their mood can easily swing between extremes in their emotional displays.”
Trapped, by Camilla Läckberg and Henrik Fexeus, is out now (£16.99, HarperCollins)
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