On the documentary BBC Horizon, Babiak said: “Psychopaths really aren’t the kind of person you think they are.
“Their natural tendency is to be charming. Take that charm and couch it in the right business language and it sounds like charismatic leadership.”
The survey suggests psychopaths are actually poor managerial performers but are extremely skilled at climbing the corporate ladder and experts at covering up their weaknesses by intelligently charming those around them.
Distinguishing between a sincerely gifted team leader and a psychopath is almost impossible. “The higher the psychopathy, the better they looked – lots of charisma and they talk a good line,” Babiak said.
“But if you look at their actual performance and ratings as a team player and productivity, it’s dismal. Looked good, performed badly.
“They can tell what you’re thinking, they can look at your body language, they can listen to what you’re saying, but what they don’t really do is feel what you feel.
“What this allows them to do is use words to manipulate and con and to interact with you without the baggage of feeling your pain.”