One out of every 100 people you meet in the general population fit the criteria for psychopathy, meaning you’re probably getting change from a psycho barista, or asking for advice about Fido’s flea and tick medicine from a psycho veterinary technician, or checking out a book from a psycho librarian. Think about how quickly you interact with 100 people. Chances are that at least one is a psychopath. Does the thought give you goosebumps? You haven’t even heard the scary part yet.
Evidence increasingly suggests the proportion of individuals with psychopathic traits in the business world is much higher, perhaps as high as one in 10 senior executives.
In fact, “Sales” is 4th on a list of top ten jobs that attract psychopaths.
That’s right. Take a look around the office. Ever talk to your non-work friends about how…”aggressively” Sam goes after a deal? Maybe mention that Tom seems to be able to deflect blame no matter what he’s accused of? What about Susan? She’s always given off the “snake in the grass” vibe. What if your gut is telling you something statistics have already proven?
You are working with psychos! Only their cold, cold hearts surpass their cold calling skills.
Psychopathy is a complicated diagnosis, and it’s unlikely that your cubicle neighbor will turn you into the next scream queen. In fact, psychopathy is characterized more commonly by a lack of empathy and inability to feel love than with homicidal tendencies. You can find out exactly which careers attract the personality types that could be the next Michael Myers here. If you’re trying to promote a less terrifying, more emotionally stable work-environment, remember that those killer sales skills may be due to traits common in most…killers.
Your hiring process can probably weed out most of these undesirable collaborators by digging into their honesty, empathy, and ability to handle criticism. There’s nothing wrong with a slight psycho as long as you can balance all that aggressive, go-get-em chutzpah. Like diets, exercise, and bronzer, “everything in moderation.” But just in case, be extra careful not to get on the bad side of anyone at work.