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UK — Business leaders at increased risk of extreme behaviour in the recession

26 October 2009

According to research carried out by Talent Q, the people assessment company, among 14,000 UK employees 'executive derailment' is a growing phenomenon and likelihood as the economic squeeze continues. When individuals face increasing pressure to achieve more with less, underlying personality characteristics come to the fore, with the potential to create havoc in organisations.

Dr Alan Bourne, director of Talent Q, said "Extreme behaviour, such as narcissism or micro-management, can commonly be witnessed when the going gets tough in organisations. It's a consequence of leaders having quickly progressed up the ladder based on their key strengths, without developing a wider repertoire to sustain them through the more challenging times."

While some of the results are unsurprising, they have significant implications for organisations, especially when the derailment leads to a missed deadline, lost orders or a de-motivated workforce.

"Organisations should ensure that, derailment risks are considered when selecting leaders. Once identified, they can be mitigated through coaching and personal development," concludes Dr Bourne.

The research didn’t indicate any correlation between age and the likelihood of derailment, however it did show that men are more likely than women to be over-confident and that women are more prone to hyper-sensitivity and over-dependence during times of increased workplace stress.


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