THE MAKING OF POTUS: A NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST DISCUSSES THE TRAITS IT REALLY TAKES TO RUN THE FREE WORLD
POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 06, 2016 AT 4:30 PM
The debates are heating up. Presidential candidates are being analyzed not only for their rhetoric but also for body language, appearance, and are dissected from stem to stern. Who are these people who chose to run for the highest office in the land? If elected, what psychological profile do they need to be successful in office?
U.S. presidents with high levels of certain psychopathic traits may actually do better on the job, no matter what their party affiliation, according to new research. The study, which was based on presidential performance ratings and personality assessments by hundreds of historians and biographers in several different surveys, found that one psychopathic characteristic in particular was linked to success in presidency: Fearless dominance. (Time Magazine)
Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City Neuropsychologist. She states that, “Presidential candidates usually have a history of achievements as no candidate comes from complete obscurity. While they are not always narcissistic or power hungry, they are generally people used to having their own way, being lucky to an extent and are generally over achievers. We associate some of these things with negative traits but without people like these, we wouldn't have good leaders or heads of companies, let alone states.”
Common traits that former U.S.A Presidents have exhibited:
• An ability to put their own times in the perspective of history
• Effective communication skills
• The courage to make unpopular decisions
• Crisis management skills
• Character and integrity
• Wise appointments
• An ability to work with Congress
What Mindset Does it Take to Occupy Office?
Dr. Hafeez states that, “The mindset has to be a resilient one. Even the most impassioned POTUS has to be able to get over a crisis or a tragedy to continue ruling the free world. Getting over bad press, letting bad ratings roll off your back, not taking them personally and being able to get sleep, have to be presidential traits.”
While the president truly must be honest and empathetic, as the American people, or people in general, can spot a fake, he or she must be able to say the right thing and behave in a certain way. Dr. Hafeez states that, “This cannot come without a degree of acting skills as no one can be honest and compassionate all the time, especially in light of the atrocities a president has to face, and the difficult decisions he/she must make, in the fast paced presidential world.”
“Intent must be genuine but he/she is likely capable of rationalizing and justifying actions for "the greater good". That ability is part of the high level of emotional and general intelligence, we require in a president. Further, being decisive, even when wrong, and being able to stand by your decisions and own them, even to apologize for them in hindsight, are powerful characteristics, that make a good president,” says Dr. Hafeez.
While doubt and anxiety about your decisions, make you a measured person, too much "flip-flopping" doesn't. A good presidential candidate must show that he or she can isolate areas of need, hire the right people for the job, gather the relevant data, and make fairly swift but informed decisions. Dr. Hafeez stresses that, “Another key characteristic, is that the most liked or popular presidential candidate, cannot come across as elitist. Even with the most refined pedigree, being able to connect with the common man, being relatable and having an earnest face and demeanor, goes a long way, with voters.”
Traits Needed to Occupy Office
Being honest, don’t cheat, steal, or deceive
Being reliable, doing what you say, having the courage to do the right thing
Being tolerant of others and accepting of differences
Dealing peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements
Planning and perseverance, self-control and self-discipline
Accountability for your words and actions
Being open minded and listening
Don’t blame others for your faults
Kindness, compassion, and forgiveness
Obeying laws, protecting the environment
Voting and volunteering
Honors and Publications:
April 2013 Main Speaker at Learning Disabilities Awareness Conference, New York City at Baruch College, CUNY
“Evaluating and Accommodating Students with
June 2008 Appointment to the New York City 18-B panel Assigned Counsel Plan
Appointed as a preferred and approved Neuropsychologist and Clinical Psychologist in the New York City Court System for low cost or pro bono criminal, civil and family law cases
January 2008 CUNY Proficiency Exam Waiver Position Paper
Hafeez, S. (2008)
Commissioned by CUNY to advocate for the Learning Disabled population and the bias of the CUNY Assessment.
Research based paper presented to the Board of CUNY Student Disabilities to waive requirement.
1998-2000 Doctoral Fellowship, Hofstra University
*Awarded a stipend in exchange for a research assistant position with core faculty member