David Eraker started a company called Mindsite to help people who are searching for answers about mental health. I found out that the DSM-IV is the go-to guide for diagnosing mental health issues, and Mindsite is the first company to publish this resource online for consumers to read directly. I know lots of people who are searching for mental health information–they’re called “disgruntled employees,” so I asked David to help me help you figure out if your boss is crazy. Here are the main personality disorders from the DSM-IV as they relate to your boss.
If your boss shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes, has a grandiose sense of self-importance, and takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, then your boss may be a narcissist. This is the loudmouthed CEO with a Porsche parked out front and a Rolex who is
always claiming that he’s doing “the next big thing.” He frequently needs an entourage of yes-people who suck up to him. Support groups for the employees of narcissists are some of the most active online.
Continued interaction with them can be downright toxic though because they can turn you into a spineless puppy dog or a powder keg of anger. (For more information about the narcissistic personality disorder, go here.)
If your boss is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of people, suspects that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving them, and is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her, then your boss may be paranoid. You could make the case that a paranoid company is always worried about the competition, and is therefore more likely to take care of its customers. That’s the basis of Andy Grove’s book Only the Paranoid Survive. However, there’s little to be said for working for a paranoid boss if the fears do not make any sense. (For more information about the paranoid personality disorder, go here.)
If your boss is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the point of the activity is lost and interferes with task completion, then your boss may be obsessive-compulsive. Many entrepreneurs have experienced board members and investors who tried to micromanage their financial projections and reports to the point no return. Maybe it makes the person feel like he’s in control of an uncontrollable situation, but “uncontrollable” means uncontrollable. These folks are simply deluding themselves to think they are improving the situation and making the rest of us crazy. (For more information about the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, go here.)
If your boss exhibits consistent irresponsibility as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations and a lack of remorse when having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another, then your boss may be anti-social. You should bewatchful about joining a company where the CEO talks about unleashing economic disruption solely to destroy the competition. Companies that are created for such purposes seldom succeed. The key is what you do for your customers not to your competition. When is the last time you bought something to help a company hurt its competition? (For more information about the anti-social personality disorder, go here.)
There you have it: a quick guide to the dysfunctionality of bosses. To learn more about these issues and to increase control of your mental health, check out Mindsite. You might also enjoy Psychology.alltop. Now stop and also ask yourself if you’re exhibiting any of these characteristics too.