… is a thought some of us may have had after an encounter with our bosses. As the German saying goes, there is a thin line between genius and insanity. That the characteristics a successful manager must display in many areas are almost identical to those of a full-fledged psychopath may, however, be new to many of us. Although you may already have had your suspicions…
It is an indisputable fact that many of the characteristics displayed by a psychopath are also essential to be a successful manager. The latter should, for example, be extrovert, enthusiastic, and self-confident. Because how else are they going to motivate and inspire their staff?
Such personality traits can also represent a risk because it is easy to overstep the boundaries between positive and negative behavior. Self-confidence can turn into an over-inflated ego; influencing others can develop into manipulation and visionary thinking can become megalomania. And all can result in situations that are unbearable for the employees concerned in the long term.
So what is the best way to handle this kind of boss? First off, you should not take things personally. It can be helpful to view the situation as if you were dealing with a psychopath. “Ultimately you have three options,” says Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel, “Love it, change it, or leave it.”
Firstly, leave it (the situation). Taking the bull by the horns can appear to be the easiest option but also entails the biggest risks. Think carefully before making a decision. Otherwise you could end up jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
Secondly, change it. This is, of course, the ideal solution – but also the most difficult course to take. “It can only succeed if the boss is capable of accepting constructive criticism,” explains Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel. You could also go to your boss’ boss, ideally together with other coworkers who are affected.
Lastly, love it. This option is undoubtedly the most controversial and only worth pursuing if you are thick-skinned enough and neither of the other two options is possible or likely to be successful. Ultimately it will provide you with a ring-side seat when your boss takes the fall – because it goes without saying that such behavior cannot be allowed to continue forever, and it is only a question of time before he or she is replaced.