Are Leaders Are More Likely To Be Sociopaths?

Paul Lawrence
Professor, Harvard Business School

People without a conscience don’t need to satisfy the drive to bond and can focus entirely on the drive to acquire, making them more likely to seek leadership positions.

Question: Are leaders more likely to be sociopaths?

Paul Lawrence: Well the question becomes you know, do these people without conscience, let’s call them PWOC’s is a rather shorthand way for that.  Talking about them getting into leadership positions and they probably get into them out of all proportion to a percentage often population, we estimate they maybe 2% to 4% of the population are such people.  And we think they get into the leadership positions maybe 8% or 10% of the time, but you know, any percent is a mess because they can wreak havoc in exploiting other people.  They probably get there more than others because it’s the only thing they’re looking for in life. You know we got normal people have got a lot of things they’re trying to get in life.  They’re trying to have healthy families and good relationships with friends and so forth.  And if you’re aren’t paying any attention to that, you can probably get to a power position more readily, because you can be pretty cunning and pretty smart, and a lot of them are very charming.  You know, they don’t come across, a lot of them, as evil, they come across as very charming people and they can worm their way into those spots and we have to be cautious.

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About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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