MFG 2.0

How To Recognize An Executive Psychopath

Interesting that an article on Executive Psychopaths should come from the Harvard Business Review, the very institution probably most responsible for churning out the same hyperentitled, amoral, ladderclimbing backstabbers who still claim million dollar bonuses after the companies they ran into the ground barely stays afloat despite massive infusions of taxpayer cash.

Key line:

Hare believes that psychopaths are increasingly common in business because they're attracted to the pace and volatility of today's hypercompetitive workplaces. And because companies unwittingly nurture them . . .they're rising through the ranks. First, make it easy for rank-and-file workers to express concerns about colleagues. Have an ombudsman or an anonymous tip line. Because regular employees are less useful to a psychopath than leaders, the psychopath's mask will often come off in front of staff, and employees will pick up on the psychopath's game before management does.

Reminded me of an article I read recently, that also had a great title, Harvard Narcissists with MBAs Killed Wall Street. Key line:
Psychologists at Ohio State University studied the behavior of 153 MBA students, who were put in groups of four and asked to orchestrate a large financial transaction on behalf of an imaginary company. The psychologists observed that the students who had the strongest narcissistic traits were most likely to emerge as leaders.

According to Amy Brunell, the lead author, the results of the study had large implications for real-world settings, because "narcissistic leaders tend to have volatile and risky decision- making performance and can be ineffective and potentially destructive leaders."


Between former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and former President George W. Bush, it's good to see the Harvard MBA mystique taking some knocks. A little humility could go a long way...

TAGS: Innovation
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