Friday, September 02, 2011

Why so Quick to Call Business Leaders Psychopaths?

I was reading an article over at CNBC entitled "Think Your Boss Is a Psychopath? That May Be True."
In a recent study of more than 200 executives, nearly 4 percent scored at or above the traditional cutoff for psychopathy using the Psychopathy Checklist, which researchers regard as the "gold standard" for assessing this personality disorder, said Paul Babiak, one of the researchers who conducted the study and co-author of the book, "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work."

By contrast, just 1 percent of the general population is categorized as having psychopathic tendencies. Admittedly, it’s just one study, but it suggests that business leaders could be four times as likely to be psychopathic than the average person....

In fact, he often uses the phrase "parasitic predator" to describe corporate psychopaths. "They are parasitic in that they are looking for a host to support them," he said. "A big company is an easy place in which to hide."

I have to wonder about this study and the way that CNBC presented this article. It makes it sound like business leaders who are psychopaths are a dime a dozen. Why are they picking on business leaders and the corporate world? Is it because the study authors or CNBC have it in their own minds that corporate bosses are corrupt, kind of like the author of this kooky article entitled "Capitalism: A System Run By and For Psychopaths"?

I have taken a continuing education course from Robert Hare, the co-author of the book mentioned above and in the course, he told us that it is a very dangerous thing to diagnose someone with psychopathy. We dealt in the course with adults and juveniles who were jailed for violent and other crimes. Often times, Hare and his colleagues would warn us to be very careful in our diagnosis, lest someone who was charged with a crime end up being discriminated against because of the psychopathy label if untrue. Shouldn't his co-author, Paul Babiak, use the same good advice? Should he use a study of only 200 people to make such a generalization?

Why business leaders? Why not study SEIU members or liberal politicians? Where is that study?

How Bad will the Job Picture Get?

I just read that the job growth in August was zero. I believe it after my experience a couple of weeks ago in Atlanta. I was there on business and went over to Lenox Square Mall. On the way, I ran into a beautiful woman who said she was heading over to a job interview. I figured she was going for a job as a model or high level manager of a hotel or organization--given the way she was dressed. "Wish me luck!" she exclaimed as she headed off the elevator we were on. As I headed into the mall later, she was in a long line of women, all gorgeous and all meticulously turned out. The line was long and went around the store. What jobs were these women applying for? A co-manager or clerk at the Forever 21 store opening up at the mall. All of them looked eager and frankly, a bit desperate for a job. But in Atlanta, where the unemployment is high, people seemed happy just to be working when I talked to them in cabs or in restaurants. How much worse will it get? I don't know, but I think as more businesses "go John Galt" in the Obama economy, much worse.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Average Person Spends Four hours of their Day Battling Temptation

I am reading a new book by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister & journalist John Tierney entitled Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. According to the authors, the average person spends four hours or more each day resisting temptation: Temptation to slack off at work and check facebook, to eat unhealthy foods, or even to engage in sex or other activities.

Does surfing the web to look for blog-fodder count as temptation? What if blogging is your job? Does it count as willpower then?

What temptations have you resisted lately, and which ones have you given in to?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ronnie Schreiber at PJM Lifestyle: "Charles Kettering Liberated Women More Than Betty Friedan & Gloria Steinem.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Should Ugly People get Affirmative Action?

"Hell,no!" I thought, as I read a post on this topic at Amy Alkon's blog but unfortunately, economist Daniel Hamermesh, author of a new book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful thinks otherwise. In an article in the New York Times, he states:
Beauty is as much an issue for men as for women. While extensive research shows that women’s looks have bigger impacts in the market for mates, another large group of studies demonstrates that men’s looks have bigger impacts on the job.

Why this disparate treatment of looks in so many areas of life? It’s a matter of simple prejudice....

A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?

We actually already do offer such protections in a few places, including in some jurisdictions in California, and in the District of Columbia, where discriminatory treatment based on looks in hiring, promotions, housing and other areas is prohibited. Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Ugly people could be allowed to seek help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies in overcoming the effects of discrimination. We could even have affirmative-action programs for the ugly.

I noticed that some bloggers were arguing about whether or not ugly people have it so bad, but that's not really the point. The more important point here is that every time some overly-dramatic academic comes up with a "theory," they run to get the government involved as a "solution" --almost always making the problem worse. It's no wonder we are in such financial and moral trouble these days.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Sixty to 90 percent of jobs are found informally - mainly through friends, relatives, and direct contacts."

I thought about the above statistic as I read a new book called The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like. The author, Michelle Lederman, gives good advice on how to network in a more relaxed and authentic way. If you are looking for a job (or trying to build your business), her advice can be invaluable.

My favorite chapter was one on "The Law of Perception" that discussed nonverbal body language and how important it is in a job interview or in business dealings. Making eye contact, standing tall, and pausing at the right time can all lead to positive perceptions whereas lack of eye contact or staring, slouching and coming off as insincere and fake can give a negative impression that loses you a job interview or potential client.

I used to think it was unfair that people had to get others to like them or had to know someone to get a job but I realize that this analysis was unfair itself. Why would someone want to hire someone or do business with someone who is not recommended by a person that you think highly of? Is a complete stranger with no known background a better bet? I doubt it.