Derailers: Using Personality Profiling to Keep Employees on Track in 2021.

Derailers cause otherwise effective employees to veer off track.

Business has become accustomed to the idea, thanks to the pioneering work of author, Daniel Goleman, that successful employees need to demonstrate more than ability, motivation, and experience.

In addition to task-focused skills and mastery, effective employees need the emotional intelligence that allow them to flexibly navigate the challenges of work, including working alongside others as part of a team.

Without it, they are at risk of derailing.

Goleman’s best-selling book: “Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ” clearly made the case for the importance of Emotional Intelligence in business.

Let’s consider how derailers can undermine any employee’s effectiveness in the current business climate, and the role personality profiling can play in keeping employees on track.

Derailers are the personality traits and behaviours that can cause an employee to lose focus, motivation and efficiency.

Dr Alan Bourne and his team at SOVA Assessments have recently mapped the most recent version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM V5) against the SOVA personality questionnaire.

Alan indicates derailers tend to fall across fourteen areas, outlined below.

Dependent – reliant on the group for support and encouragement and less willing to make decisions without input from others. May lack own opinions, or confidence in own views.

Over-sensitive – sensitive to criticism, pessimistic and finds it had to bounce back from setbacks. Likely to be distrusting of others.

Detached – works independently from others, tends not to look for support during challenging situations and instead focus on own activities. Tends not to share how they are feeling or seek counsel.

Individualistic – tough-minded and assertive in pursuit of own goals, prepared to break rules to get things done. May give limited consideration to others’ feelings when seeking to overcome obstacles and trying to deliver results.

Unconventional – focused on finding novel approaches to problems which may not be grounded in practical realities. Looks for unusual and creative solutions but may not test these against data or the views of others.

Unpredictable – excitable, volatile, and erratic, tends to respond more emotionally to events as they occur. May behave supportively when things are going well but be distant and confrontational with others if they feel under pressure.

Dramatic – expects to be appreciated by others and enjoys being the centre of attention. Wishes to stand out in the group and lead events. Has a strong need to be heard and may react negatively if contribution is not valued highly.

Boldness – bold, assertive and confident with a tendency to take risks. Holds own status in high regard, promoting own achievements and demanding recognition. May present an overly positive image to get what they want.

Rigid – has strongly held views on many issues, tends to be inflexible when faced with information that does not align with their view. May ignore voices which disagree with their perspective.

Meticulous – focused on organising tasks and ensuring details are completed but may set unreasonably high standards for self and others, risking micro-managing others activities.

Stubborn – tends to be firm in own opinions but risks continuing down one path relentlessly rather than changing course if the situation demands it. May be unreceptive to others’ views.

Hesitant – cautious when faced with challenging situations, prefers to look carefully at all possibilities before taking action. Risk averse and slow to make changes unless they have the full support of those around them.

Casual – prefers an un-pressured environment and avoids risks where they need to deliver for others within clear deadlines. May push back when pressed for urgency.

Intense – highly charged, competitive and pursues activities with great intensity and passion. Shows consistent energy but may drive others too hard, failing to appreciate the need for a realistic and healthy pace at work.

2021 means derailers are particularly pertinent, in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic and BREXIT.

People are struggling to integrate new approaches, situations and demands into their existing lifestyle and work, which increases internal demands.

These increased demands reduce the capacity they have to successfully deal with their environments, thereby increasing their reported feelings of stress, pressure, and anxiety.

Change can be challenging, and derailers are more likely to come to the fore under times of duress and stress.

With fears relating to health, job security and the economy, we are likely to see derailers being expressed in our employee’s behaviours and thinking.

So, how can personality profiling help to keep employees on track in the current climate?

Personality profiling is a huge asset when it comes to effective recruitment. Identifying employees who are already aware of their potential derailers, who have high levels of Emotional Intelligence and are effective at managing in times of stress, means an immediate reduction in derailing issues highlighted during the recruitment process.

And for existing employees, personality profiling offers objective and formative data that helps your business with intentional learning and development opportunities for employees.

A fantastic opportunity for employees to grow in awareness of their potential derailer traits, and to develop strategies to remain confidently on track during times of duress.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and appreciate any relevant feedback you have. Leave us a comment!

Reference. Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Bloomsbury.