Healthcare Informatics and Technology Investors
Healthcare Informatics and Technology Investors


About Team Role Theory

History & Research

Reliability & Validity

Dr. Meredith Belbin

Behavior vs. Personality



Get To Know Your Shadow, Because if You Can't See it You Will Trip Over it or it Will Stab You in the Back

Business leaders will rarely admit to having a shadow, because it doesn't fit their ideal image of the flawless leader. Those who do often rationalize that these dark traits don't affect their work, and blame others, or like to look at "circumstances" when things go wrong. Either way, they're doing themselves and their companies a disservice.But according to David Dotlich, author of "Unnatural Leadership," there are great benefits to acknowledging our shadow sides. These traits can obscure our perceptions and cause us to act irrationally or act in ways that are at odds with a situation. Breaking with denial makes us aware of this tendency and lets us control it."When people become aware of their shadow sides, they possess a greater ability to measure their actions against their impact," Dodich said.

See The Dark Side

Imagine for a moment that unbeknownst to you, your employees view you as an overbearing nitpicker. They are unhappy, unmotivated and are compelled to waste time each day on meaningless activities. Dotlich says that by stepping back and reflecting, you can begin to see the theme of your micromanaging and how it causes your people sleepless nights and angst. These admissions can help you become more self aware and self controlled.A problem in many many of us is that we have a hard time recognizing the shadowside, even when the description fits us like a glove.

Psychologist Robert Hogan has conducted research on shadow personalities from which he developed the CDR International Derailment survey. The survey pinpoints 11 shadow traits. They are: volatile, distrustful, extremely cautious, aloof, passive- resistant (seems to cooperate but maintains private reservations that lead to pursuit of a personal agenda), arrogant, mischievous, melodramatic, eccentric, perfectionism and pleaser (reluctant to take independent action that goes against the opinions of others.)

Detective Work

Before you decide that none ofthese traits describes you, realize that stress often causes the shadow side to emerge. Dotlich suggests asking the following questions:

  1. In a situation where you were under significant stress, how did you handle it?
  2. In what ways could the situation have been handled better?
  3. What behaviors undermined your ability to achieve maximum effecttveness?
  4. Do the same problematic behaviors occur repeatedly when you findyourself feeling pressured?
  5. What emiotions kick in during these difficult experiences, and do they create problems? Then think about whether you have observed negative results of othe rleaders' behaviors. The point is to push yourself toward the acknowledgment that you, too, have a shadow side that can get you into trouble.
  6. Have you ever observed another leader in your organization behave it in ways that caused problems?
  7. Can you identify with any of these behaviors?
  8. Why do you think leaders engage in behaviors that they know are counterproductive?
  9. Why would they do things they know are wrong?