3 Psychopathic Traits That Are Actually Helpful At Work, According To Science

A new study is breaking stereotypes about psychopathy — specifically the stereotypes that paint those with the disorder as inherently criminal, volatile, and unemployable. Turns out, there are psychopathic traits that are actually helpful in business. Recently published in the Journal of Management, the new University of Bonn study found that there are two branches of the disorder, each with opposing personality traits and behaviors; furthermore, one of those branches correlates with a lot of traits that are actually quite useful at work.

The umbrella term "psychopathy" refers to what is considered a personality disorder; people with psychopathy typically exhibit antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and/or remorse, and a lack of inhibition. But according to this new study, only secondary psychopaths possess what are considered "classic" psychopathic tendencies: Poor self-control and a lack of consideration for others. These tend to make secondary psychopaths come off as destructive and disruptive in many office and "team" settings, hence the reputation for struggling to hold down a job and function within society's parameters.

Primary psychopaths, on the other hand, have marked social abilities — and even if they don't necessarily possess strong empathetic or remorseful emotions, they are able, at the very least, to give they impression they do. It makes sense, then, that psychopathic tendencies affect up to five percent of the population (a lot more than you thought, right?). But, um, here's the thing that this study was trying to prove: Psychopaths are not inherently evil. They're not "unable to be good." In fact, they can be contributing members of our society. Big ones.

In addition to social abilities, primary psychopaths tend to exhibit the following traits, which not only make them able to hold down a job in the business sphere, but to do it, and do it really, really well. Even outside of the business sphere, fearless dominance can be beneficial. Firefighters, doctors, lawyers — these are all careers which require what some may consider to be psychopathic tendencies. This also explains why I am not good at business stuff and in fact have an acute aversion to it. Life is a rich tapestry, you know?

1. Fearlessness


Fearlessness in business endeavors is what tends to set apart the super achievers from the average human. Primary psychopaths have the ability to channel their lack of inhibition and lack of remorse into a fierce, fearless attitude in the workplace. Psychopaths typically experience a diminished fear response; furthermore, boredom affects people with psychopathic tendencies in extremely painful ways. The kinds of things one does when one is fearless also usually go a long way towards alleviating boredom, so I'd be willing to bet that both of these traits can be extremely useful when it comes to taking risks that pay off in the workplace.

2. Dominance


Or, "really liking to get their way." I mean, if you didn't really experience a whole lot of empathy, it would make compromising seem kind of... hard to wrap your head around? Granted, I am a classic Libra and see too much of both sides, rendering me thus unable to make any decision at all, so this is all speculation on my end. Given that some estimates place the number of CEOS who are also psychopaths at about four percent, though, dominance being a benefit at work makes a certain amount of sense.

3. The Ability to Withstand Stress


Now, this is the key to holding the rest of these traits together and packaging them into a business super-machine. Plus, you know who is honestly the best person to be around in the office? The human who gets it done and has chill-ass vibes.

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