If you’ve ever suspected your boss was a narcissistic jerk, a new study may back you up.
Researchers from the University of Bern found that workers who scored higher on some “dark triad” traits — psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism — often had more opportunities for raises and promotions to leadership positions, according to Minds for Business.
To measure the correlation between dark triad traits and work success, the researchers surveyed 793 working German adults aged 25 to 34.
The participants were each administered the “Dirty Dozen” test to measure the degree of their dark triad traits. They were asked to rate their level of agreement with statements like “I tend to want others to pay attention to me,” ‘‘I tend to lack remorse,” and ‘‘I tend to manipulate others to get my way.”
Respondents also provided their leadership position and pre-tax monthly salaries in addition to taking a short survey on their career satisfaction.
In their analyses of the data, the researchers found that those who scored high on two of the three dark triad traits were more likely to experience career success.
“Whether bad guys get ahead or fall behind seems to depend on the type of dark trait,” the researchers write in their paper, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. “After controlling for other relevant variables (i.e., gender, age, job tenure, organization size, education, and work hours), narcissism was positively related to salary, Machiavellianism was positively related to leadership position and career satisfaction.”
Workers who scored high on psychopathy, however, were found to be less likely to have successful careers. The researchers hypothesize that psychopaths, although they can be charming and intelligent, are often unable to work well with others. Machiavellians, meanwhile, may find themselves more often in leadership positions because they crave and pursue power.
According to Oxford University psychologist Kevin Dutton’s research, CEOs are the profession most filled with psychopaths. On the opposite end, care aids were found to be the least likely to be psychopaths.