Dark traits are counterproductive behaviors that can spell disaster for those in leadership positions. Unsuccessful leaders may not realize that their very personalities can be interfering with their propensity for working in teams. According to our lessons, these dark side personality traits include; argumentative, interpersonal insensitivity, narcissism, fear of failure, perfectionism, and impulsivity, (PSU WC, 2020, p. 3). Every person has a capacity for these dark side traits in certain amounts. Our lessons also tell us that these traits are not usually discovered during the interview process, meaning that they become more apparent after the individual has been in their position for some time already, (PSU WC, 2020, p. 4). Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic with the Harvard Business review has found some research proving that there is possibly a way to detect leadership incompetence in people, (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2020, p. 8). Successful leadership is more important now than ever due to the many modern problems business and the world face today, it is important to know how those traits affect leadership, how testing during the interview process could help ensure competent leadership, and how best to implement that testing.
Different traits affect leadership in many different ways. One important way that they can affect a leader is that their followers are not as dedicated to the end goal and don’t work as hard to achieve it, (PSU WC, 2020, p. 1). When followers don’t have a competent leader, the leader will not be as successful in guiding their team towards their goals, and that affects the business. If the business sees that a leader isn’t progressing, they may take actions that affect them all, such as having more rigid rules, passing out reprimands, or even terminating positions. Our lesson says that these dark traits cant really be measured in interviews (PSU WC, 2020, p. 4), but there has been some research that argues to the contrary.
Testing during the interview process can help businesses find more competent leaders. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “For some time now, we have had at our disposal scientifically valid assessments to predict and avoid managerial and leadership incompetence,” (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2020, p. 8). This is just the thing that businesses need to better evaluate the effectiveness of their candidates. Instead of focusing solely on the traits they want, they need to find out of applicants have those dark traits which would hinder progress. This relates to our text when it says that looking for those traits may not help in certain situations, and that those traits are not necessarily based on reliable research any way, (Northouse, 2016, p. 41). Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic discuses implementing this testing, but I think that each business should find the best way of doing so for themselves.
Businesses should find a way that best works for them to implement this testing because what works for one may not work for all. Our text tells us that training and developing specific traits isn’t a useful practice because traits are generally set and aren’t very likely to be changed, (Northouse, 2016, p. 41). This relates to our lesson because the dark traits tend to become more apparent after the individual has been a leader for a while, (PSU WC, 2020, p. 4). Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic says that the process of evaluating leadership competence involves finding out how arrogant they are because those who are not skilled tend to rate themselves highly, (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2020, p. 3). This mean that the interviewer should educate themselves on how to identify arrogance. One way this could be done by asking the interviewee to rate themselves and then following up with previous employers to see any discrepancies.
Team performance is a major aspect of a business’s success; therefore, it is vitally important to know how traits affect leadership, how testing could help ensure competent leadership, and how to implement that testing before incompetence becomes a problem. Not all leaders are equipped with the right skills for every situation; but, having the wrong skills for every situation is even worse. Testing for higher levels of arrogance in potential candidates during the interview process can help businesses select more competent leaders. Those with dark side traits may be oblivious to their own pitfalls, but employers don’t have to be.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2020, March 11). How to Spot an Incompetent Leader. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-to-spot-an-incompetent-leader
Northouse, P. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice, Seventh Edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
PSU WC. (2020). The Dark Side of Personality. Retrieved from Penn State University World Campus: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2015147/modules/items/29089117