Authored by: Dr Lynne Cruickshank
There is great value in using well-validated 360 and personality assessments to help enhance a leader’s self-awareness and development. While both types of assessments provide valuable insights regarding a leader’s strengths and opportunities when used alone, they are particularly powerful when used together as part of coaching or development conversations. The 360 assessment provides useful information on a leader’s performance and reputation at a given point in time, while personality assessments help to explain what may be driving certain behaviours.
Drawing on recent research examining the results of over 2,500 leaders with matched 360 and personality data, this blog summarises some key insights on the association between personality and 360 performance. Considerations for leaders wishing to enhance their performance and reputation are also included.
This research was based on data from the following four assessments:
• Hogan 360: a multi-rater assessment designed to measure a leader’s reputation by comparing self-ratings to those from their managers, peers and direct reports.
• Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI): measures day-to-day personality characteristics that impact how a person approaches their work and interactions with others
• Hogan Development Survey (HDS): measures personality when not self-managing such as when stressed or under pressure, and describes a person’s strengths which, when overplayed, can potentially derail performance at work
• Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI): provides insight into a person's core values that motivate and drive their behaviour
Day-to-day Personality Characteristics and 360 Performance
When looking at the day-to-day personality characteristics measured by the HPI, there were four scales that were found to be associated with higher overall scores on the Hogan 360. These scales measure tendencies associated with being:
• Resilient, calm and even-tempered
• Confident, driven and focused on achieving results
• Perceptive and considerate of others
• Conscientious, responsible and dependable
Resilience plays an important role in helping leaders to stay in the high performance zone despite the challenges and pressures that they face as part of their role. For leaders wishing to enhance their performance and reputation, there is value in considering how they can develop greater levels of resilience and emotional regulation. Reflecting on how they respond to everyday pressures may help leaders identify potential triggers of stress and strategies to build their level of resilience. Leaders should also consider how they can make time to recharge so they have the energy they need to build their desired reputation and achieve desired outcomes.
Leaders wanting to enhance their performance and reputation are likely to benefit from considering whether they demonstrate sufficient confidence in their views or positions. Demonstrating confidence in one’s ideas and decisions can have an impact on the level of buy-in or support that they receive and others willingness to follow their lead. Identifying opportunities to show greater drive and initiative to achieve results is also likely to be beneficial in enhancing their performance and reputation as a leader.
People and teams play a significant role in a leader’s success and therefore it is valuable for leaders to be aware of their interpersonal style and the impact it has on the people and teams they are responsible for leading. Leaders should reflect on whether there are times when it would be beneficial for them to adapt their style to effectively engage and motivate others to achieve results.
Trust plays an important role in effective leadership and leaders who are responsible and dependable are more likely to earn others’ trust. This includes by making good decisions and following through with their commitments. Leaders with a tendency to consider the potential consequences of one’s decisions and actions were found to have higher 360 results. Leaders are likely to benefit from considering how they can make better quality decisions which may include thinking about the potential longer-term implications as well as how to mitigate potential risks.
Derailers and 360 Performance
When looking at tendencies that can potentially derail performance as measured by the HDS, scales associated with managing stress and pressure by distancing oneself from others were found to be associated with poorer overall results on the Hogan 360. This included scales associated with:
• Overreacting to situations and being tense under pressure
• Being cynical of others and prone to fault-finding
• Being reluctant to take chances and resistant to change
• Withdrawing and seeming indifferent to others
• Being stubborn, uncooperative and overly focused on their own agenda
Leaders who are prone to any of these tendencies should consider how they can implement strategies to reduce the impact of these tendencies on their reputation and performance. This may include strategies that will help them build resilience, manage their emotions more constructively, suspend judgement, show a willingness to consider others’ viewpoints, ensure they don’t miss out on opportunities, and actively engage and communicate with others.
Values and 360 Performance
In terms of the values measured by the MVPI, valuing helping others was found to be associated with higher overall scores on the Hogan 360. Typically, leaders who are higher on this value are more likely to encourage an emphasis on customer service and tend to care about staff morale and wellbeing. Valuing relationships over profitability was also associated with having higher overall scores on the Hogan 360. Overall, the results highlight the importance of leaders focusing on people within and external to their organisation.
It is important to note that leadership capability can be improved through focus, motivation, and deliberate practice. Leaders obtain focus by developing an awareness of their natural tendencies as well as their performance and reputation at a given point in time. This focus can be achieved by using well-validated personality assessments in conjunction with a 360 assessment.
Leaders will benefit from exploring how their natural tendencies impact on their performance and reputation to identify opportunities to enhance their leadership effectiveness. Based on the research described above, this should include exploring their tendencies in relation to resilience, confidence, drive, interpersonal style, and dependability as these tendencies were found to be significantly related to performance and reputation as measured by the Hogan 360.
For more information about how to combine 360 and personality assessment feedback, please