Study: Self-Promoters Six Times More Likely to Derail

Minneapolis — April 17

Recent “Pulse on Leaders” studies, using data collected by PDI Ninth House and analyzed by University of Minnesota researchers, have identified several leadership behaviors that increase the risk of being demoted, fired or performing below expectations.

One of the studies found that leaders who rated their skills significantly higher than ratings provided by their bosses are more than six times more likely to derail than those who display signs of being more “in touch” with their actual work performance.

In another study, researchers found that those leaders identified by their direct managers as most likely to derail exhibited behaviors that caused their managers to perceive them as lacking in both self-awareness and tact, resulting in damaged workplace relationships.

“Some of today’s leaders struggle to differentiate themselves from their colleagues, and many are also very concerned about their managers recognizing their performance,” said Lou Quast, vice president and executive consultant at PDI Ninth House, and associate chairman of the University of Minnesota’s department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development at the College of Education and Human Development.

In both studies, University of Minnesota researchers analyzed data collected from PDI Ninth House’s PROFILOR 360-degree evaluation tool.

In the first study, researchers looked at ratings of more than 39,000 global leaders. They compared the leaders’ ratings of their own performance with those given by their direct managers. Those considered to be in touch with their self-assessments — their ratings closely matched those of their direct managers — were at little risk of derailment, while strong self-promoters were more than six times (629 percent) as likely to derail as the in-touch group.

In contrast to self-promoters, those considered to be strong self-deprecators are not more likely to derail than the “in-touch” group, and may in fact be less likely to derail.

In the second study, researchers analyzed boss evaluations of 14,000 U.S. leaders. The study examined how direct managers ranked their employees on 135 behaviors representing 24 core competencies. Those leaders considered by their direct managers most likely to derail received failing scores on the following behaviors:

• Demonstrates awareness of own strengths and weaknesses.
• Creates an environment where people work their best.
• Expresses disagreement tactfully and sensitively.
• Has the confidence and trust of others.
• Develops effective working relationships with higher management.
• Develops effective relationships with peers.

“The key to a successful career requires being smart and proficient on the job, as well as having the ability to relate to the people around you,” Quast said. “And as both studies show, success depends on a realistic view of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.”

Source: PDI Ninth House