Launching the TOP: shining a light on the dark side of leadership

Dr Dominik Schwarzinger, one of the authors of the Dark Triad of Personality at Work (TOP), was on hand to help launch its UK/US adaptation at the Association for Business Psychology’s biggest annual event to a crowded workshop audience in London recently.

The dark triad itself is well-known in the scientific community, but here has been adapted specifically for the world of work – and so the factors themselves are entirely occupationally-relevant. Vitally, it is also the only assessment that focuses specifically on just the three factors – giving test users an unflinching, unapologetic look at the dark side of personality when the stakes are high and the demand is pressing.

Dr Schwarzinger gave delegates a very clear overview of the TOP and its factors – here adapted as Self-centred work approach, Enforcement-focused work attitude and Uncommitted-impulsive work style – and led a spirited discussion on the applicability of the assessment in different situations, including selection, development and coaching.

In high-stakes selection processes, for instance, critical decisions can be borne of too little evidence. Combined with a measure of ‘normal’ personality – such as the NEO Personality Inventory or the Business-focused Inventory of Personality (BIP) – the TOP provides incredible insight into the threat of dark triad traits overpowering what are often seen as positive leadership traits. Appetite for risk, assertiveness, or flexibility can all play a part in leadership effectiveness – but when overused, can lead to leadership derailment, resulting in negative performance, cultural and financial consequences for any organisation.

In an interview after the workshop, Dr Schwarzinger further explained: “Narcissistic CEOs might be very charming and assertive, allowing them to inspire people, win customers and let the organisation thrive – but all the while be showing leadership behaviours which may be considered ruthless or even abusive.”

Hogrefe representatives were delighted to be on hand to discuss the TOP with conference delegates before and after the workshop, and welcome anyone with an interest in dark triad measurement to get in touch.

The TOP is available on our Hogrefe Testsystem platform, with both technical and personal insight reports. Features such as group overlay (to compare candidate results) are available with every test report. We also offer NEO and TOP bundles for those looking to get the most out of an assessment package – with TOP training to be available from next January.

Contact customersupport@hogrefe.co.uk to enquire about the TOP today!

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