While psychopaths are successful, theirs is certainly not the kind of success others should try to emulate, says Galynker. He is emphatic that he is not advocating psychopathy or any sort of mimicry of the disorder. As they make it to the top, psychopaths may step over, trample on, or back-stab anyone in the way.
Still, it may be useful to observe the reasons that psychopaths are successful, put those features through a moral filter, and then consider how you could adopt certain beneficial behaviors at work.
“You want to be able to understand what character traits make people successful, whether psychopathic or not, and then you want to use them hopefully in a moral or ethical fashion, so you don’t step on people in the process,” Galynker says.
There is nothing to be gained by being particularly anxious at the office, for example. It won’t make a stressful situation better. Similarly, being overly emotional about the consequences of a decision or staying mired in negativity after a failure will slow down a professional process.
And while nobody likes working with an egomaniac, often getting to the next level professionally means having a healthy confidence in your work and your ability to succeed in new environments.
“The human features that some of the psychopaths have – like reduced fear, reduced anxiety, ability to control your emotions better – they are not bad, per se, by themselves, because if a moral person used them they are going to use them to good ends,” says Galynker.