The corporate bosses are generally thought to have plenty of charisma but no emotional depth.
With their finely honed political skills, sharp timing and chameleon-like abilities, they thrive on risk, chaos and upheaval. And they are cold-blooded enough to claim later that they did nothing wrong.
AdvertisementDr Robert Hare and Dr Paul Babiak tell you how you to find out if your boss is a psychopath.
According to research cited, managers scored higher on measures of psychopathy than the overall population. Some who had very high scores were candidates for, or held, senior positions.
"The very skills that make the psychopath so unpleasant (and sometimes abusive) in society can facilitate a career in business even in the face of negative performance ratings," Stuff.co.nz quoted the researchers as saying.
Another study found that bosses who make big bucks are much meaner to their employees compared to executives who aren't earning massive salaries.
Jo Owen at BNET identifies six traits to watch out for.
1. They are highly egocentric and the world revolves around them
2. They have superficial charm and will say anything to get their way
3. They feel no guilt or shame about their actions
4. They take excessive risks
5. They blame others or completely deny there are problems and they are highly manipulative.
And of course, they will back stab anyone they think is in their way or anyone deemed to be unnecessary.
However, despite being grandiose and narcissistic, bosses can't necessarily be tagged as psychopaths - they're just awful people.