The Corporate DERAILERS Test

Personality Corporate Derailer Types

Along with Narcists or Egomaniacs, there are Corporate Derailerss who offer significant risks to organisations who have employed them often unwittingly into key leadership roles. We have seen in 2008 the impact of such characters in the global meltdown of the world economies. Could this have been avoided most definitely had boards of directors not been egged on by investors, had CEO’s had their wings clipped by Corporate Governance and had HR been given the tools to stream these people out, often the Egomaniac is highly manipulative.

Risk is an inevitable by-product of almost any activity. This holds true to the risk factors associated with hiring decisions, which are no more so evident than when hiring managers or leaders. While it is often not possible for organizations to eliminate their exposure to such risks entirely, organisations can work to understand the risks and manage their exposure more effectively by investigating individuals’ tendencies towards counterproductive behaviour. Personality Derailers help identify such challenging behaviours.

The Derailers Report describes respondents’ assessment results in terms of a series of dysfunctional behaviours that can present challenges for organisations in a variety of work settings. The dysfunctional behaviours assessed in this report have been developed from the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organisation’s systems for classifying personality disorders and from the seminal work of Theodore Millon on dysfunctional personality types. Despite the origin of these behaviours it should be noted, however, that the report does not assess clinical problems, but rather personality types that can be problematic in work settings.

While extreme personality profiles present significant challenges in most organisational and work contexts, they can also be characteristic of high achievers. (This reflects the fact that high achievers often have quite rare and extreme personality profiles.) Whether such profiles result in functional or dysfunctional behaviour is, in turn, dependent upon the demands of the specific job role, and on the nature of the organizational culture. For example, while someone who has a high score on the ‘Confrontational-Challenging’ behavioural category is likely to create discord, disharmony and destabilise most organizations, such behavioural categories are often found among effective change agents and innovators. Similarly, while someone who has a high score on the ‘Manipulative-Machiavellian’ behavioural category may be prone to destabilise most organizations by acting in a manipulative and self-serving manner, such behavioural categories are often associated with effective ‘political’ operators and negotiators.

Each profile this test produces provides an insight into the individual’s likely behaviour when measured against the above.

DIMENSIONS MEASURED

Definitions of the 12 dysfunctional behaviours are presented below.

DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE BEHAVIOURS

Eccentric – Absent-minded: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category have little concern for practical matters. They may also be inattentive to practical everyday matters, be forgetful and drift off onto flights of fantasy.

Appeasing – Acquiescent: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category lack assertion and tend to worry about what others think of them. As a result, they are prone to say things that they believe will please others and place others’ personal needs over their own.

Suspicious – Mistrustful: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are suspicious and prone to doubt others’ motives. Tending to take a cynical view of human nature, they are likely to believe people are out to further their own ends. As a result, they would be expected to have little tolerance for others and are likely to show their irritation and frustration with them.

Volatile – Explosive: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are tense-driven and lacking in composure. In addition to this, they may have difficulty controlling their emotions. As a result, they are likely to vent their frustrations without giving consideration to the impact their outbursts will have on others.

Undisciplined – Nonconformist: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are spontaneous and flexible in their attitude and approach towards work, and are unlikely to feel bound by organisational rules, regulations and procedures. They are likely to be inattentive to detail and to be prone to make careless errors and mistakes. They may also be prone to rejecting tried and tested methods out of hand, and to break with the past, simply for the sake of rejecting custom and practice.

Detached – Disengaged: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category have little interest in other people and are likely to be viewed as being cut-off, distant and reclusive. As a result, they are likely to dislikes teamwork, preferring to work on their own, away from what they may see as the distractions of other people.

Rigid – Perfectionistic: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are very perfectionistic and maybe obsessive. Consequently, they are likely to be prone to become so focused on details as to lose sight of the bigger picture. As a result, they may be inflexible and ridged in their approach to problems.

Confrontational – Challenging: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are direct and may be pointed in their dealings with others. They are unlikely to be diplomatic and tactful, and would not be expected to hold back from saying what is on their mind, even if this might upset others. In addition to this, they are likely to appear forceful and pushy and be prone to be confrontational if challenged.

Manipulative – Machiavellian: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are cynical about human nature. As a result, they will be reluctant to deal with others in an open and upfront manner. Being disposed to approach working relationships in a political way, they might be expected to be inclined to respond to events in what they consider to be a ‘politically expedient manner. As a result, they might say things which they believe others want to hear.

Avoidant – Passive: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category lack confidence and are prone to feel anxious in social settings. Consequently, they would be expected to be reluctant to express their views and opinions. Prone to self-doubt, they may avoid tasking on tasks for fear of making errors or mistakes.

Arrogant – Self-centred: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are confident in a social setting, and tend to present themselves as being very sure of their own views and opinions. As a result, others may consider them to be arrogant or even opinionated. They are also likely to have little interest in other people and would not be expected to be sensitive to others people’s needs.

Moody – Sullen: Individuals with a high score on this dysfunctional behavioural category are prone to mood swings. Consequently, their colleagues may find them to be changeable and unpredictable in how they react to events and situations. Having lower levels of energy and drive than most people, they are likely to have difficulty dealing with setbacks and failures and may be inclined to give up when faced with adversity.

DEVELOPMENTAL APPLICATIONS

It can be puzzling when a newly-hired corporate leader fails to work out. A person may have all the necessary skills and abilities on paper, but once they’re fully in the mix of a new company culture, the story often changes for the worse.

Leadership development for talent often eludes recruiters and managers. That’s because leaders, like all of us, possess derailing qualities — those personality factors that drag down professional performance and create more discord than harmony if not quickly identified and corrected.

Given that these ‘dark side’ personality traits are part of the human condition, organisations must foster self-awareness and personal growth in order to succeed.

It’s tempting to think of derailer side traits simply as the unattractive qualities we easily spot in people (and that inform our snap judgements). But it is trickier than that: derailer side features can also be seen as overused strengths we lean on when under pressure.

The Derailers Test and Reports can be used as a critical instrument in talent development. So yes it can be used in recruitment but also critically as a Developmental Tool.

RESPONSE STYLE

The Derailers Test contains several scales which measure individuals’ test-taking attitudes and whether they were committed to portraying themselves accurately. Such measures inform practitioners of the degree to which they can trust and rely on the interpretation of respondents’ profiles.

We have multiple approved psychometric testing instruments and British Psychological Society Qualified Psychometricians. We can accommodate small one-off testing or larger batch or group testing

All of our tests are registered and not available off the shelf unless administered by a qualified administrator.

Psychological tests are used in all walks of life to assess ability, personality and behaviour. A test can be used as part of the selection process for job interview or to assess children in schools. Tests may be used to assess people with mental health issues or offenders in prisons, and are also used in the National Health Service.

To ensure that professionals using tests are appropriately qualified, the BPS has developed qualification standards defining the knowledge and skills that should be held by anybody using a psychological test.

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