The Good Psycho
Dexter was a serial killer but he only killed other serial killers. As a blood splatter expert he was based at police HQ, working alongside detectives he knew their methods and the way they thought, he was also very good at disposing of the bodies so his victims simply disappeared. These two factors explained how he was able to get away with being a serial killer for so long. To a US TV audience that accepts the death penalty for murder the idea of being a, "good” serial killer was not too farfetched as the program was extremely popular running to 8 series. Outside of the fantasy world of entertainment can there really be any positives in being a cold hearted psychopath?
If you put it like that probably not but when psychiatrists talk about psychopaths they are referring to people with a set of characteristics which include ruthlessness, self confidence, mental toughness, extremely focused, coolness under pressure, charm and charisma. Now does that not describe a senior manager you have worked for? Are these not leadership qualities?
But doesn't a psychopath totally lack empathy and have no conscience? Yes and I am not suggesting all senior managers are cold hearted individuals who have no conscience but it does seem that as they progress up the organisation they develop the ability to switch off or turn down the empathy dials. How could they cut services,make people redundant and generally exploit people if they could feel the distress and humiliation of an elderly person left for hours in a urine soaked bed due to cut backs in the home care budget or know what it is like to be unemployed and spend sleepless night worrying how you are going to pay the gas and electricity bill and what it's like to be earning so little, despite working fully time, that you have to go to a food bank for a handout.
As a senior manager you can't afford to think about the impact on the individual you focus on the bigger picture target limited resource on the most in need ,even if this does mean taking a service away from vulnerable elderly people. You focus on the numbers not the individuals.
In an austerity climate where you are required to be a serial cutter can you be a "good psycho?"
Blair McPherson ex social worker, former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk