Understanding your Derailers: Berwick Partners launch 2022 Emerging Leaders Programme

Understanding your Derailers: Berwick Partners launch 2022 Emerging Leaders Programme
Published: 1 April 2022

The fourth consecutive year of the Berwick Partners Emerging Leaders Programme (ELP) was launched in March 2022 at our offices in London following the success of the virtual 2021 programme. The cohort of 50 high-potential leaders began this exciting year-long programme of insight-led learning and personal development, with a session that focussed on the importance of self-awareness and how, when the pressure is on, the line between one's strengths and weaknesses isn't always clear.

We were delighted to be joined by guest speaker Miriam Luke, Lead Consultant at GFB Group. Miriam is an experienced coach and facilitator who specialises in supporting people, teams and organisations to develop effective and collaborative leadership. This has included taking an innovative approach to self-awareness with live 1:2:1 coaching and ongoing support and feedback. Miriam has faced a broad range of high-pressure situations, both in her career as coach, and as part of the British Olympic Rowing team, giving her first-hand experience of the impact of your personality on leadership.

Miriam’s aim, as a coach is to help the next generation of leaders to become more self-aware, understand the dark side of their personality, and stop them derailing their careers.

Self-awareness: How does your personality impact how you lead?

So, what actually is personality? Miriam explained that at its most basic, personality is the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that make a person unique. She went on to highlight that as a leader, understanding and being aware of your personality strengths will ensue you know what you bring to your role. Similarly, understanding the impact that high-pressure can have on these personality traits, can be just as important. Self-awareness is one of the hallmarks of great leadership. 

Personality Profiling

As part of the programme, each participant was asked to complete two personality profile assessments:

- Orpheus Business Personality Inventory: A work-based psychometric assessment of personality and integrity. It includes the big-five dimensions and seven integrity scales assessing Proficiency, Work Orientation, Patience, Fair-mindedness, Loyalty and Initiative.

- Hogan Darkside: This assessment measures dark side personality characteristics, or derailers, along 11 primary scales. The higher you score along a particular scale, the more likely you are to behave a certain way when you’re stressed or to overplay your personality strengths.

The dark side of your personality

Miriam went on to discuss the results of both assessments, but focused on the results for Hogan Darkside, explaining how strategic self-awareness will prevent you, as a leader, from showing your derailers in high pressure situations. Miriam explained the scales and their impacts:

  • Excitable: moody, easily annoyed, hard to please, emotionally volatile
  • Sceptical: distrustful, cynical, sensitive to criticism, focused on the negative
  • Cautious: unassertive, resistant to change, slow to make decisions
  • Reserved: aloof, indifferent to the feeling of others, uncommunicative
  • Leisurely: overtly cooperative, but privately irritable, stubborn, uncooperative
  • Bold: overly self-confident, arrogant, inflated feelings of self-worth
  • Mischievous: charming, risk-taking, limit-testing and excitement-seeking
  • Colourful: dramatic, attention-seeking, interruptive, poor listening skills
  • Imaginative: creative, but thinking and acting in unusual or eccentric ways
  • Diligent: meticulous, precise, hard to please, tends to micromanage
  • Dutiful: eager to please and reluctant to act independently

Everyone has leadership strengths for example, highly diligent people are often quality oriented, thorough, precise and produce detailed and highly accurate work. However, when under pressure or when overplaying this strength may mean leaders become hard to please and may micromanage their teams. The more senior you become in your career, the more unlikely it becomes that people will tell you when you’re overplaying your strengths and question your leadership style – as you’re the leader. Your personality is unlikely to vary much once you are over 25 years old so good self-awareness of when your personality is helpful at work and when it is a derailer can enhance how you lead when under pressure. 

In summary

Our emerging leaders were asked to take a look at themselves in the mirror and understand their own personality, but also how this impacts those around them. Miriam highlighted that self-awareness would take them a step in the right direction to being a great leader.

Get involved in Emerging Leaders

The programme is designed to give direct interaction and active mentoring from exceptional business leaders and coaches, who bring proven experience in delivering market and business-defining change, as well as displaying the ability to consistently evolve and remain at the forefront of their chosen field.

There are several ways for you to get involved with the Emerging Leaders Programme, from speaker and mentor opportunities to becoming a participant yourself.

To find out more, please click here.

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