The Pros and Cons of Measuring the Dark Side of Personality

July 16th, 2010 by Amanda Potter Leave a reply »

Rather than focusing only on leadership talents, research has also examined leadership failure and the reasons why leaders so frequently self destruct. Hogan states that this is due to a prevelance of the “dark side aspects of personality”. These darks sides are overused strengths under conditions of stress and pressure. The Hogan development Survey (HDS) measures 11 dispositions that are generally desirable, but flip under pressure if not managed well under pressure. For example, Confidence builds to Arrogance, and Diligence builds to Perfectionism under pressure.

The HDS measures “the Dark Side of personality”. There are a number of benefits of measuring these darks sides:
• Provides a different insight into behaviours and their potentially negative impact on others.
• Use of HDS develops a high level of trust between coach and client.
• Helps the client identify when their behavior is tipping into the ‘dark side’.
• Develops coping mechanisms and an increased awareness of impact on others.

However there are down sides:
• The Dark Side measure, is best used in combination with a Bright Side tool, for example Profile Match, Wave or NEO.
• Use of the HDS relies on strong relationship with coach and client. Without trust and empathy it could elicit defensiveness.
• Some will not be open to considering their own potentially derailing behaviours.
• It is best used in a developed Coaching relationship as reflection time is needed to identify one’s impact on others.
• The client must be open to exploring new ideas about their behavior and be willing to consciously moderate these too.

The HDS measure of the dark sides of personality, is therefore most effectively used in the hands, of a fully qualified, experienced and talented coach or Psychologist. Zircon have over 60 trained HDS consultants who regularly use the tool for talent Assessment, Development, succession planning, team development and coaching Coaching with our clients.

If you would like to understand more please contact:

Julie Lee (Development) – 07711 664929

Amanda Potter (Engagement) – 01737 554 571 or 07740 684184

Source: Some content from this article appeared in Coaching at Work, vol. 4, issue 6, for more information go to

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