CEOs in Crisis: The Influence of Leaders’ Performance Risks (Part 2)



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*This post was authored by Sara Ruiz, Research and Development Talent Management Model Lead at THUOPER, Hogan’s authorized distributor in Colombia.

Some personality traits can pose risks to companies’ success. These traits, which Hogan calls derailers, tend to arise when people are stressed, fatigued, or bored (that is, when we do not exercise self-control). These are the most challenging elements of personality to work with, and they are the most damaging to our careers. Because crises such as the one we are currently experiencing cause almost constant stress, these characteristics are particularly notable right now.

The Leader in Times of Crisis Program

The Hogan Development Survey, or HDS, measures the 11 aspects of personality that can derail performance during times like these. As part of the Leader in Times of Crisis program, Hogan’s strategic partner Thuoper collaborated with the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce to study the personality traits of more than 200 CEOs in Colombia. The program’s main objective was help leaders achieve a higher level of strategic self-awareness, understand how to manage the crisis, and emerge stronger than before.

As part of the program, the CEOs completed Hogan’s personality tests — the Hogan Personality Inventory, the Hogan Development Survey, and the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory — and attended a webinar during which Liliana López, CEO of Thuoper and expert in organizational leadership, explained the methodology and key personality characteristics for handling crisis effectively.

Subsequently, Thuoper’s research and development team analyzed the CEOs’ personality test results and found important patterns between their results and their companies’ economic sectors. This article, the second in a three-part series, will focus on how the CEOs scored on the HDS.

Financial

In the financial sector, we found that the greatest risk involves behaviors associated with the Colorful scale. People who score high on this scale seem gregarious, entertaining, and jovial, and they enjoy being the center of attention. The crucial risk with this scale lies in a tendency to exaggerate the facts and, as a consequence, create panic in the team. As is evident, this characteristic can be disastrous in a sector as delicate and with as much social impact as this.

Industrial

Among CEOs in the industrial sector, we found two main risk factors: Excitable and Reserved. People who score high on the Excitable scale work with passion and enthusiasm, but they can also become easily frustrated, irritated, upset, and inclined to abandon projects or remove support from people. The main problem is difficulty with emotional self-control, which can lead to hurt relationships or put projects, processes, or ideas at risk when they do not go as expected. An industrial sector CEO with these characteristics may have difficulties managing the current situation and effectively leading a team.

Those who score high on the Reserved scale, on the other hand, may appear mentally strong, distant, and unconcerned for other people’s feelings. For leadership to be effective, regular communication with the team (especially in critical circumstances) is essential, and CEOs who are high on the Reserved scale might tend to cut this communication under stress.

Health

The results from the health sector were very interesting. We found three primary risk factors: Bold, Mischievous, and Diligent. High scorers on the Bold scale tend to appear confident, fearless, self-promoting, and unable to admit mistakes or learn from experience. Obviously this is a very high-risk scale for this sector because the ability to learn from experience and correct mistakes is required (and to correct them, you must first admit them).

The Mischievous scale refers to seeming bright, charming, adventurous, risk inclined, and limit testing. If we look at it from this perspective, it can seem positive for this high-pressure sector. However, the risk factor lies in exceeding the limits and overlooking security protocols or basic nonnegotiable principles.

Finally, high scorers on the Diligent scale appear to be hardworking and detail oriented, with high performance standards for themselves and others. Like the Mischievous scale, this may sound positive; however, the risk factor is reflected in “paralysis” behaviors. That is, when this trait arises, the leader (or the team, under the leader’s direction) might not produce the necessary results, because they are not ideal.

Services

CEOs in the services sector also tended to score high on the Bold and Mischievous scales. Obviously, it will always be a risk to have difficulty with accepting feedback or with owning mistakes (Bold) and the possibility of blurring the limits in every sense of the word (Mischievous).

Technology

Technology sector CEOs tended to have high scores on the Bold and Imaginative scales. As it may be evident, arrogance is one of the most common personality traits of people under stress. The Imaginative scale refers to appearing innovative, creative, possibly eccentric, and sometimes self-focused. The risk factor stems from behaviors such as difficulty landing or executing ideas and difficulty communicating in a practical and easily understandable way. In circumstances like these, it is of great importance to work from practicality, because theorizing, analyzing, thinking and rethinking projects will not monetize what little you can.

Textiles

In the textiles sector, the Leisurely scale is the main risk. This refers to appearing friendly and cooperative but actually acting on personal priorities while resisting the priorities of others in a passive but stubborn way. Real and open synergy is a necessary condition for the survival of teams and companies, and behaviors such as being privately uncooperative can put synergy at risk. For leadership to be effective, it is important to control these types of scenarios.

Transportation

Turning to the transportation sector, we found behaviors associated with the Colorful scale to be the main risk factor. Just as in the financial sector, a high score on this scale can be a double-edged sword that leads to making one-sided decisions or generating panic in teams.

Tourism

Finally, in the tourism sector, we identified three main derailers: Cautious, Bold, and Diligent. The Cautious scale measures risk aversion, fear of failure, and avoidance of criticism. This scale can be challenging because it can lead to difficulties in making risky decisions or decisions without all the necessary information (which is every day in these new conditions).

It is important to emphasize that these are behaviors that arise only under stress, tiredness, or boredom, and do not determine leadership skills, but they can negatively influence results (both human and financial).

Please look out for the third installment of this series to learn about the motivators and values ​​of these CEOs.