Posts categorized “personality assessment”
The Executive Development Group partner Sandra L. Shullman weighs in on an engaging article appearing in Talent Management concerning the use of executive coaching with 360 assessments to resolve harassment cases in the workplace.
Sandy has been an expert witness in sexual harassment cases and while she sees how the process can be helpful, she offers some cautions.
“I can imagine how this might be helpful,” said Sandra L. Shullman, a psychologist, executive coach and partner with the Executive Development Group. “However, HR and managers in charge need to think about how willing the affected members of the organization are to participate effectively.”
A coach to harassment victims and an expert in harassment cases, Shullman also has consulted with client firms seeking to reform harassers. She said 360s and coaching should be applied judiciously because using 360s as remediation could cast a negative light on assessments, decreasing their acceptance for positive development interventions. She also said these processes should never be a substitute for sanctions or the mandate to maintain appropriate behavior.
You can read the entire article by assessment expert Dr. Paul Connolly here.
Frank Kalman writes in this month’s edition of Chief Learning Officer about learning from failure:
…Aside from the psychological distaste associated with human failure, one of the larger barriers keeping more corporations from embracing it as an engine for learning is rooted in organizational culture. Creating a culture where failure isn’t the goal but is treated as a learning driver remains an uphill battle for many, said Amy C. Edmondson, professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School. The most frequent gaffe organizations make is equating perfection with good performance.
“The biggest mistake we make is thinking we’re not supposed to make mistakes,” said Edmondson, who wrote an April 2011 research article on the topic for the Harvard Business Review. Read the article here.
In our work on ambiguity, the ability to learn from failure is a requisite for overcoming the fear of uncertainty.
Kalman’s source, Amy C. Edmondson offers a 12-minute video presentation on the subject here.
The February 2012 issue of Chief Learning Officer offers a special report on leadership development that makes an effective and topical preamble for The Ambiguity Architect and our work in understanding the importance of managing uncertainty as it relates to leadership.
“Now you’ve got to work with huge amounts of ambiguity, help other people do that too, and manage risk,” she said. “You’re always trying new things, pushing the edge of the envelope — and you have to enable your teams to experience and also let them fail. That’s a whole set of leadership capability that we really didn’t have a huge dose of to start with.”—Diane Gherson, vice president of talent at IBM, CLO Magazine
That’s pretty specific to our work, but the report also describes an environment in which leadership is “granted” and subjective and harder to teach. All of this points to the value of ambiguity tolerance as a leadership trait.
For instance, globalization has forced GE’s leaders to think and manage in multiple layers, making critical thinking a top skill. They must have an acute sense of how these complex layers relate, and be able to assimilate business strategies across cultures. That is the framework in which executive leadership — across all global organizations — now operates.
“The information age has changed the world of leaders,” said Jeff Barnes, senior manager of global learning at GE. “Information is so quick. You don’t have time to really stop and think about it … your job [as a leader] has gotten so much more complicated.”
Read it all here.
Randy was interviewed while in Brisbane by Research News, the publication of the Australian Market and Social Research Society.
Glass ceiling author still waiting for more diversity among leaders
During his visit to Australia this year, Dr Randall White argued leaders need to be able to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity, rather than just take a command and control approach.
As an international thought leader in the field of executive coaching and leadership development – and the ‘token guy’ in the team that wrote the 1987 hit Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Dr Randall White was invited to Brisbane to deliver a keynote address at the 2011 Organisational Psychology Conference.
At the same conference, Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) CEO Serge Sardo argued that Australian businesses needed to move on from the concept of ‘the leader’ to the concept of ‘leadership’ and building a culture within an organisation that nurtures new leaders. READ MORE.
White cites Joe Rost, who claimed that there are more than 300 definitions of leadership in the West alone, but when asked to define a good leader, he says, ‘Effective leaders create an environment where everybody can maximise their potential, whatever that is. I think effective leaders aren’t afraid to surround themselves with people who are better than them. They are open to asking for, receiving and giving feedback about their performance. They aren’t afraid to be confronted by people around them who are faster, quicker, brighter and more prescient. You start to see the best in leaders when they come to understand that it’s about the legacy that they leave behind them.’ READ MORE.
Diversity in leadership:
He says it’s also important to acknowledge that one of the best breeding grounds for leaders is a start-up.
‘Across a wide variety of industries, we see excluded classes of people – women, those who might be termed minorities – starting up their own businesses because they get to write their own rules and create their own culture. They bring different kinds of behaviour to the leadership enterprise. Start-ups give people the opportunity to try their hand at leadership whereas, if they were in a larger organisation, they might not experience as big a stretch.’…
Leaders don’t just come packaged as white, male and 6’1 ”
White says organisational psychology could be potentially very helpful in helping those in the market and social research industry develop leaders, because it encourages people to try out different ideas.
‘For example, let’s have more diverse teams because the greater heterogeneity the more likely the business is to achieve its objectives.’READ MORE.
Since Phil Hodgson and Executive Development Group partner Randy White published Relax, It’s Only Uncertainty in 2001, we have seen not only validation among the executives we work with, but also greater interest in the challenges of ambiguity in business.
At this week’s SIOP Annual Conference in Atlanta, Sandy Shullman and Randy were encouraged and delighted by the collaborative responses to the two half-day presentations. There appear to be some emerging perspectives on the subject as it relates to the practical applications of learning professionals. People in the field see a need to measure tolerance for ambiguity and the uncertainty that it brings in their quests for potential leaders in their organizations.
It became apparent to us that this “aptitude for ambiguity” is indeed a trait sought by learning organizations like yours and a trait that can be developed.
As with most of our work, our study of ambiguity is a process that is informed and advanced by the questions learning executives bring. Presently, we are further developing our 360 assessment Ambiguity Architect®, so these kinds of mini-focus groups are invaluable. If your firm is interested in learning more about our work on ambiguity, please contact us via e-mail.
Drs. Randall P White and Sandra L Shullman are featured authors in the April issue of CLO Magazine. Writing on Ambiguity Leadership, Randy and Sandy advance the idea that an aptitude for ambiguity and the ability to be comfortable amidst uncertainty are traits that can be measured and developed. Also, they assert that research suggests that they are traits of high-performers. From the article:
Research done by the Executive Development Group suggests that the ability to positively manage uncertainty may be an essential trait of effective leaders, often found in those considered high potentials. Evidence shows it can be measured and learned.
Based on interviews with numerous C-level executives around the world, Elizabeth Mellon, executive director of Duke Corporate Education, said mindset — more than personality and behavior — forms an observable pattern among some of the most successful leaders and that a fearless approach to uncertainty is required.
“C-suite executives reveal a high degree of being comfortable with discomfort,” Mellon said. “They accommodate ambiguity and the uncertainty it brings. They are confident in making decisions that move their organizations into uncharted territory because they know this ensures long-term prosperity. They have ‘solid cores’ that allow them to navigate the unknown and accept not knowing everything. And they tend to have a longer view because they see time as a continuum in which uncertainty will come and go as they progress. Being uncertain doesn’t stifle them.”
Download the whole article for free, here.
Dr. Sandra L. Shullman, Executive Development Group partner, writes this month in Talent Management magazine on the subject of personality profiles.
Sandy’s article offers an objective review of the fortes and foibles of personality assessment instruments and includes insights from two Executive Development Group clients, Jeff Holst and Gregory Pennington, Ph.D. Jeff is a 35-year corporate HR veteran with Coopers Lybrand, Bayer US, Kennametal and now a talent management consultant specializing in executive feedback and coaching. Greg is vice president and global senior leader of development and planning at Johnson Controls.
From the article:
Personality assessments take a beating from skeptics and supporters. The detractors make a case for fallacies and dangers. Notably, Annie Murphy Paul’s 2004 book, Cult of Personality: How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage Our Companies, and Misunderstand Ourselves, challenged their prevailing use: “They cannot specify how we will act in particular roles or situations. They cannot predict how we will change over time.”
This is partially true. In many cases, personality inventories are presumed to predict comprehensive performance when they can’t.
The other beating comes from the most devout acolytes of personality assessments: the talent managers who misuse the tools. As management demands faster results, HR often is seduced by marketing promises and distributor claims. Myriad management consultant Web sites tout amazing solutions and advertisements for instruments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Hogan HPI or FIRO-B and DiSC.
Personality instruments are good at predicting two main categories behaviorally related to work: getting along with people and the motivational aspects of getting ahead. READ MORE HERE.