Sociopaths tend to flock to power (“leadership”)

Is there a mention that leaders of companies/gov/mil also tend to have a larger percentage of sociopaths (those lacking any sort of conscience) than society average.

Sociopaths tend to flock to power (“leadership”). Such a study may be more useful than studying “motivation” which is quite an abstract trait.


On my last ship the SMT were mostly whiny petty children

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The affliction is also glaringly apparent on the political stage.


What is your source for the demographics here?

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It seems, this is a worldwide phenomenon…


Such studies have already been done and found that sociopaths do indeed flock to power. This isn’t really something to be studied, but a known fact.

I guess the more appropriate question is - what to do about it.

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Exactly. Anybody asking for studies and “muh proof” is being intentionally obtuse.

Also, power hungry sociopaths also seem to love to censor on the internet as well.


I have no doubt that sociopaths tend to power. I raise an eyebrow to the specific claim that sociopaths form a higher percentage of leaders than they do any other segment of society.

Sociopaths exist on a spectrum like any other personality disorder. But , all pop culture aside, sociopaths aren’t more intelligent than any other sort of person. And given that on average sociopaths tend to have less than average work/ethic motivation than other sectors of society, and a greater degree of criminality, I find it doubtful that they would form the greater proportion of leaders than any other class.

In fact, you could say that sociopaths theoretically would form less of a proportion of the leader-level of society than the poorer classes of society, since sociopathic behavior rarely rewards the sociopath.

Most ( not all) sociopaths are losers. Cunning losers, but losers nevertheless. They think they are geniuses. They spend a lot of time trying to convince people they are great. But it is the rare sociopath that will put in the work to be great.

The most interesting book on the subject I’ve read is The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson.


Interesting point. Still, they seem to somehow make it to the top. Here’s a paper exploring possible reasons why:

Estimates are that there are four times more psychopathic individuals in high profile positions than in the community on average (estimates of 3.9% compared to between 0.6 and 1.2%) (Babiak et al., 2010; Coid et al., 2012; see also Landay et al., 2019: for lower prevalence rates).

Apparently, psychopaths are motivated to seek leadership positions by their need for social dominance. The paper effectively dispels the myth that a psychopathic leader is somehow beneficial for the organization:

Whether these ‘successful’ psychopathic individuals are an advantage or a risk in a leadership positions is still a subject of debate (Lilienfeld et al., 2015). However, the majority of the studies that have been conducted on psychopathic leadership and psychopathy in other high profile positions shows a similar pattern: the presence of psychopathic individuals is associated with a diversity of maladaptive outcomes (Babiak, 1995, Babiak, 1996, Babiak, 2007, Babiak, 2016; Babiak & Hare, 2007; Babiak et al., 2010; Blickle et al., 2006; Boddy, 2011; Boddy et al., 2010; Boddy & Taplin, 2017; Bucy et al., 2008; Cangemi & Pfohl, 2009; Kets de Vries, 2012; Mathieu & Babiak, 2016; Mathieu et al., 2015: Mathieu et al., 2014; Mullins-Sweatt et al., 2010, Palmen et al., 2018; Ray, 2007; Ten Brinke et al., 2018).

In several of these studies, psychopathic leaders were not only associated with their own negative job performance (Babiak et al., 2010: Blickle et al., 2018; Lilienfeld et al., 2012, Ten Brinke et al., 2018), but their presence also had a negative impact on their employees. The studied employees were less committed to their organizations, exhibited lower work motivation, higher turn-over intentions, and higher job neglect. Furthermore, they felt dissatisfied with their supervisor and with their jobs and they experienced more frequent work-family related conflict (Mathieu et al., 2014; Mathieu and Babiak, 2015, Mathieu and Babiak, 2016; Sanecka, 2013).

Ah yes. I forgot that wanting to investigate sources for in-depth knowledge is a sign of obtusity. In my case it’s not intentional, so I guess I’m just naturally obtuse.


You just described very coherently the leadership at MSC


I’m sure the definitions can be debated forever, especially on the internet. Works I’ve read usually keep it simple: A sociopath lacks a conscience. He/she is unable to feel right vs wrong.

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I heard once that “Once one is accustomed to a life at sea they are no longer fit for a life ashore”. Many “loners” and odd ducks on those vessels, it’s almost a requirement to be considered normal at sea. I could care less what someone “feels” as long as they get the job done. Perhaps I’m one of those psychopaths or sociopaths or maybe I’m just someone that just wants to get the job done without worrying about someone’s feelings and maybe upsetting them because I wanted them to do their friggin job. The insanity on MSC ships is just getting out of hand. Why can’t we all just get along, get the job done and move on to the next task. It’s just business, nothing personal. If you don’t like your psycho/socio boss, advance and then you can be the one they talk about. If you don’t wanna do that, hit the road. The grass is Always greener on the other side, or not. Just a general comment for the thread, not directed at any one person or comment.


Studies show that narcissistic personality disorders end up in middle management. In rare cases they end up at THE TOP, but not for long.

If you read 10 studies that lean heavily in one direction you can find 10 more that take the opposite stance. Always a good idea to read both sides and not rely solely on someone else’s research that may be biased to make their point. Make your own informed decisions as statistical data is often skewed. How about the idea of more accidents happening within a 10 or 15 mile radius of one’s home? Yeah, makes sense since that’s where the majority of driving is taking place. Stats are easily and often skewed to sway the reader that doesn’t investigate thoroughly. Question everything and make your own decisions based on a wide range of data. It’s served me well over the years.
As far as sociopaths in leadership positions, who cares as long as they are fair and get the job done in a safe and efficient manner. It’s just business, toughen up and thicken your skin if you don’t like someone who has little emotion. On the flip side, I have seen overly emotional people in leadership positions absolutely caving when the going got tough, unable to make a calm and correct decisions.
I can see pros and cons of both but honestly, who cares? Just get the job done and treat your ppl with respect and dignity. Be fair and honest and things fall into place. Just sayin!

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