The Seven Habits of Sociopathic Managers

Dan Geddes
11 min readFeb 10, 2019

Top sociopathic managers don’t let empathy hold them back


The competition to become a top corporate manager has never been fiercer. While old school corporate management values such as efficiency and vision still have their place, studies in several countries have shown that sociopaths and psychopaths are now disproportionately represented in senior management, especially among CEOs.

This is no accident. In the Darwinian struggle of 21st century global capitalism, sociopaths and psychopaths are better equipped to fight their way to the top than their ethically minded peers, who may still be held back by residual feelings of empathy and compassion for their fellow humanity.

Looking at the current business revolutions brought about by artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, sociopathic and psychopathic managers are better equipped psychologically to manage robotic employees than their empathetic counterparts, who may still be looking for “meaning” and “purpose” in their work, via “helping others” or other ill-starred pursuits. In the fight for ultimate efficiency, subsidizing the weak or showing mercy toward inefficient colleagues is more certainly a losing strategy than ever before.

Wise middle-managers looking to climb to the next level are learning to cultivate their inner psychopath and to mirror the sociopathic traits of their superiors. Future corporate leaders can learn much from the art of diplomacy, building temporary alliances until the right moment to backstab their mentor and perhaps take his or her job presents itself. As world-class sociopathic leader Henry Kissinger once advised (following Lord Palmerston): you should not have any permanent friendships or alliances; only permanent interests — namely your own self-advancement in the zero-sum game of corporate life.

Psychopathic Traits

The Society for the Study of Psychopathy states that psychopathic traits include:

  • Lack of guilt/remorse
  • Lack of empathy
  • Lack of deep emotional attachments
  • Narcissism
  • Superficial charm
  • Dishonesty
  • Manipulativeness
  • Reckless risk-taking

Sociopathy is often considered similar to psychopathy, though less extreme. There…

Dan Geddes

Editor of The Satirist ( America’s Most Critical Journal; satirist, critic, standup in Amsterdam