Monday, 18 April 2005

Well, One Was A Weasel

The Guardian asks Is your boss a psychopath? To which your only answer can be "Isn't that part of the job description?" The Guardian gives a list of 11 personality disorders that are more common in managers than in disturbed criminals (apparently for the purpose of the exercise we have to assume that the distinction is less blurry than you would normally think). These are as follows:

The first was histrionic PD, entailing superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulativeness. There was also a higher incidence of narcissism: grandiosity, self-focused lack of empathy for others, exploitativeness and independence. Finally, there was more compulsive PD in the managers, including perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies.

You know, apart from "excessive devotion to work" (unless we define that as "excessive devotion to powerpoint") I've worked for a manager who had all of those.

Ever the Liberal, the Graun tries to excuse some of this:
For many high achievers, the pursuit of status is a compensation for feelings of worthlessness and despair caused by early adversity. They want to be recognised by strangers because needs went unrecognised in infancy; want money to feel richer than others because they felt poorer, emotionally, as children; and want to have control over others because they were rendered impotent by parental care.

Congratulations! You're a cliché in a bad serial killer movie. "It wasn't is inherent shittiness that made him a walking sack of shit, it was his difficult childhood". Well boo-fuckin'-hoo. Quite a few of the under-achievers being ground down by their boss's personality disorders probably had difficult childhoods, too, but found no need to develop an egocentric, narcissistic, compulsive personality.

I dunno. Maybe it makes sense. An inability to deal with your own childhood trauma obviously makes you fit to manage other people. I can see, though, how many of the traits above would enable a manager to keep their job at the expense of their more competent, but less psychotic, co-workers.

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