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Executive Twist: Inside the Mind of a CE(psych)O

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The editors at Psych Degrees decided to research the topic of:

Executive Twist: Inside the Mind of a CE(psych)O

It takes a different sort of mind to run a major company successfully. Sometimes it's genius that sets apart the business elite-but sometimes it just may be madness. We take a look at the studies and profiles that show what make these leaders tick-and why that ticking sound may just be a psychopathic time bomb.

Profile: Dennis Kozlowski, CEO of Tyco

- Illegally pilfered $600 million through theft and sale of false securities
- Supreme narcissist
- Gains power by winning disciples to his philosophies
- Fueled by sense of entitlement, views shareholders as lacking identity
- Expert manipulator: pushes all the right emotional buttons.
- Virtually hypnotic
- 1: Percentage of general population exhibiting psychopathy
- 4: Percentage of CEOs showing psychopathic tendencies-four times as likely as the general population
- 3: number of 11 personality disorders more likely to be found in CEOs than in severely disturbed criminals
- Histrionic, Narcissistic, and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorders

Traits that can lead a psychopathic personality to the boardroom instead of prison:

- Competence
- Order
- Achievement
- Motivation
- Self-discipline

Profile: Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap, CEO of Sunbeam

- Once laid off 11,000 people in a single company
- Fuzzy math with sales figures led to his dismissal at the company and ultimately the bankruptcy of Sunbeam
- Notorious for attending neither of his parents' funerals
- Once told his wife he wanted to taste human flesh
- Viewed as completely devoid of empathy

Surprising CEO traits

- Typical CEO: tends to be sensitive and private
- Less likely to be a perfectionist or dominant
- Prone to emotional instability
- Less self-assured than most people
- More cooperative, less forceful

Profile: Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter

- #notapsycho, but does say being a CEO is psychologically damaging
- Cites need to relate personally to employees' frustrations
- Sees value in admitting faults and limitations
- Doesn't always force his will on company decisions
- Knows being liked isn't always possible in every situation

Good CEOs are . . .

- Passionate
- Curious
- Experienced
- Confident
- Fearless
- Focused