Just how certain are you that you’re not the office psychopath? Perhaps you should review the psychopath checklist.
The office psychopath is not the bloke found inconveniently near every unexplained axe-murder in your office. He or she is just a normal person, who just happens to have no empathy whatsoever. This little deficit means that they are completely incapable of co-operating with others for a common good.
And since modern business depends on groups of people doing exactly that, having them in your office can be seriously wealth endangering. But are you certain that you aren’t the office psychopath?
Psychopaths are not all the same. Just like the rest of us, they vary in lots of important ways. Some are very intelligent and some are not. Some are good-looking and some are not. Some are men and some are women. Psychopaths are no more immune to cancer than we are and they are no better at football than I am. Well, all right, most of them probably are, but that’s not because they are psychopaths, it’s because I am uncoordinated.
But one handy thing about psychopaths is that their behaviour is predictable. It’s so predictable that psychologists have developed a checklist which they use to determine whether someone is a psychopath.
The checklist is made up of twenty personality traits. Each of these twenty traits is scored by a psychologist, after a face-to-face interview and review of records, as a 0 (not present), 1 (present but not dominant) or 2 (dominant). The maximum score is obviously 40.
The average person scores between 3 and 6. Non-psychopathic criminals score between 16 and 22. A total score of 30 or over in the United States (or 25 or over in the United Kingdom) is regarded as a positive diagnosis of psychopathy.
Just to give us a sense of how these criteria might be applied, I’ve used my non-existent training in psychology to score James Bond on these criteria and now you can use your non-existent training in psychology (unless you are a psychologist of course) to score yourself.
|Case study: James Bond|
|Facet 1: Interpersonal|
||2 – Is it possible to be more charming than James Bond?|
||2 – A ‘secret’ agent who uses his own name all the time? – yup.|
||2 – Aside from his name, he does seem to lie an awful lot.|
||2 – Obviously part of the job.|
|Facet 2: Affective|
||2 – James has killed over 350 people on screen so far and it never seems to trouble him in the slightest.|
||2 – I’m sure he really does love all those women he sleeps with.|
||2 – Has he ever seemed to experience another person’s emotions? There was that one time when he cried in the shower with Vesper Lynd . . .|
||1 – Every now and then he does take the blame for stuffing up.|
|Facet 3: Lifestyle|
||2 – We never see him sitting around much, do we?|
||2 – Everything seems to be on the expense account.|
||2 – Does he have any long-term goals?|
||2 – He certainly struggles to contain his impulses when it comes to killing and seducing women|
||1 – Occasionally he does things for king and country|
|Facet 4: Antisocial|
|· Poor behavioural controls||0 – He is in control most of the time.|
|· Early behavioural problems||0 – We don’t know so let’s go with 0.|
|· Juvenile delinquency||0 – Once again, we don’t know.|
|· A history having conditional release from prison revoked||0 – We don’t know.|
|· Criminal versatility||0 – His crimes are sanctioned by his 00 status.|
|· Many short-term marital relationships||1 – He’s never been married but he has had many relationships that might have ended that way (had the other half not been killed off).|
|· Promiscuous sexual behaviour||2 – Is it possible to give more than 2?|
People who score highly in Facets 3 and 4 are more likely to be found on the wrong side of a prison wall. People who score highly on Facets 1 and 2 are more likely to be your workmate, your partner, a family member or, apparently, a secret agent.
Mr Bond managed a score that makes him a psychopath in the UK but not quite one in the US. The unflappable, focused, but erudite and charming killer that Bond represents is not a million miles from what I would describe as an office psychopath (without quite so much killing).
How did you go?
David Gillespie will present a session on Taming Toxic People at the Sydney Big Ideas Summit on Tuesday 30th October.
If you’d like to join us at the event in Sydney, reserve your seat here: http://www.bigideassummit.com/big-ideas-sydney
If you can’t make it to Sydney but would like to follow the action as a Digital Delegate, sign up here: https://www.procurious.com/big-ideas-summit-sydney