Stuart Robertson & Associates Ltd Newsletter
Business Psychologists 
In This Issue
Update on the Career Motivation Indicator
Quintax and Leadership Style
Level A and B Training News
People and Projects
Choices in Feedback Delivery
Newsletter Feedback
Who are we?
July Newsletter Offer
Quick Links
More on SR&A 
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July/2009
Welcome to the SR&A Summer 2009 Newsletter!  This issue contains an update and Extended Offer on the use of the Career Motivation Indicator, together with pieces about the use of Quintax to assess Leadership Style, the choice between face-to-face and telephone feedback, the revision of the BPS Level A and B standards and its implications for our delegate clients, and more related to people, projects, and our activities at SR&A.  And then there is a July offer!
 
If you think the Newsletter may be useful to a colleague, then why not use the 'forward email' link at the foot of the Newsletter to send a copy to their email address.  They will only become subscribed to our list if they then choose to click the 'Join Our Mailing List' button on the left!
 
If you don't want to receive our Newsletter you can unsubscribe at the foot of this page.  We send out Newsletter mailings no more than once every few months or so, and we limit ourselves in each one to around 5 or 6 main news items.  We try to make the content useful to our clients and there are also some attractive offers for you to consider in this and future issues! 
 
Finally you can now get access to previous Newsletters by clicking the 'Newsletter Archive' option in the green 'Quick Links' box to the left of this introduction.  If you check them out you will find a number of useful downloadable resources, from Quintax Norm and Type Tables to Learning Log materials for free use, and much more besides.
Update on the Career Motivation Indicator
CMi Website 

Since the launch of the Career Motivation Indicator website in January we have seen a substantial increase in the use of the tool among existing and new clients.  For example, CMi is being used on-line at the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as part of a career management programme.  It is also in use at M&S Money, Chiumento Consulting, and at the Ministry of Defence.  In each case the instrument is being used for different elements of career development work with either internal or external clients including government bodies and other agencies. 

 

For those who are unfamiliar, CMi is a questionnaire that provides scores on 10 career motivators and 4 underlying global career themes useful in coaching, development, and career counselling.  As factors that help to drive people's career choices, information about the career motivators can be helpful in development discussions alongside information regarding personality styles.  An information leaflet can be found here and you can also click the following link to obtain a sample CMi report.

 
How the CMi Website is Used 
If you are a career adviser, coach or development specialist you can set up an account on the website and begin to use it to invite respondents to complete the questionnaire.  Users can determine the content of the email invitation by editing the default version, and/or the version that is sent to any particular respondent.  When a respondent receives an invitation by email they are given an access code and link to the CMi website.  When people enter the access code and complete CMi, they are able to draw down a report on their responses immediately in pdf form.  The user can also generate a copy of the report for discussion with the respondent.  Users can create folders for different groups of respondents, and monitor whether individual respondents have responded to invitations, completed the questionnaire etc. 
 
Users order 'units' via their accounts in order to continue using the service - 1 unit corresponds to an administration of CMi to a respondent plus a copy of the output report. 
 
The website also provides a direct route to completion of CMi for respondents who wish to visit the site independently of working with a career adviser.  Again, a report is available immediately.
 
An Extended Offer to New CMi Users 
Having a professional involvement in coaching, development, career counselling or some related area is sufficient to qualify you to be able to use the measure with your clients.  At times of growth, as well as in today's recessionary climate, a tool such as CMi can be helpful in enabling different types of respondents to understand their career options and make better more informed choices when they decide to develop their careers.
 
As part of our introductory offer, new users can register with no account set-up charge (saving 50) and obtain a substantial 25% discount on orders for units made before September 30th.  
 
To take this up you can make a request for an account to be set up via the CMi website itself, or by emailing us at our mail address.  Alternatively you can click the following link for a download of the account application form and terms of use, and submit this with a copy of the voucher below by fax (on +441618774500) or by post to Stuart Robertson & Associates Ltd, Empress Buildings, 380 Chester Road, Manchester M16 9EA, UK. 
 
If you would like to complete CMi for yourself, contact us to arrange this at the mail address link above.
 
 
Quintax and Leadership Style
QOL Leadership Assessment

We have recently added a Leadership Style Report to the Quintax On-line Website.  The Leadership Styles report draws on one of the most useful models for leadership assessment and development, distinguishing between 3 major dimensions of leadership style: transformational, transactional and passive

 
The Styles Explained
Transformational leadership is about the capacity to motivate and inspire people to achieve high levels of performance against challenging expectations.  Key elements of the transformational style are:
  • Inspiration: the ability to inspire and empower others to achieve
  • Consideration: the extent to which people are treated and respected as individuals
  • Creative Vision: the capacity to enthuse others through innovative thinking and setting an exciting vision

Transactional leadership relates to the extent to which leadership is provided through goal setting, monitoring and feedback to build and maintain high levels of performance.  Key elements of the transactional style are:

  • Feedback & Reward: the use of regular feedback and incentives
  • Proactive Monitoring: active monitoring and intervention to maintain desired performance

Passive leadership is essentially a less active and more non-directive leadership style where people are expected and allowed to work on their own initiative. As such it depends on the motivation and conscientiousness of colleagues for success.  There are two aspects to this style:

  • Reactive Monitoring: the leader only intervenes when problems occur
  • Non-Interventionist: the leader allows others to work unguided and unmonitored

The Leadership Styles report provides scoring (on a standardised scale of 1 to 10) on each of the 3 major dimensions and their constituent elements.  Based on published research into the relationship between personality and leadership style, the report indicates which aspects of leadership the person is more likely to find easy or natural to adopt and which are less likely to be used.

 
Case Studies
The examples below are drawn from real cases where the Leadership Styles report has been used to supplement a Quintax assessment in senior management selection.
 
Example 1: Michael's Quintax type is ELST-C.  His responses fall in the Extraverted, Logical, Structured, Theoretical, and Calm Quintax Type classification.
 
His scores on the 3 major dimensions were:
Transformational: 8
Transactional: 9
Passive: 2
In interpreting the leadership styles report, the rank order of preferences should be taken into account as well as their absolute value.  This suggests that the transactional style is most likely to predominate for Michael, but also shows he has the potential to adopt a transformational style.  He is very unlikely to take a passive approach.  The elements of each of the 3 dimensions provided additional information.
 
In transformational leadership Michael scored as follows:
Inspiration: 7
Creative Vision: 9
Consideration: 7
This indicates that the strongest transformational element for Michael is Creative Vision.  This conclusion was supported in feedback, where Michael's strong innovative style emerged a hallmark of his leadership style.  He had recently received 360 feedback that he tended to leave others' behind in his enthusiasm for the grand vision and large-scale change.  His feedback also suggested that he showed little patience with those who didn't immediately respond to his vision.
 
For transactional leadership Michael's scores were:
Feedback & Reward: 8
Proactive Monitoring: 10
Michael's leadership style is most likely to be characterised by close scrutiny of other's work, with early action to prevent any small problems escalating to serious issues.  In feedback, Michael stated that his own managers appreciated his commitment to getting results.  He also acknowledged that he found it difficult to delegate fully, and that colleagues complained that he interfered too much.
 
Michael will rarely, if ever, demonstrate passive leadership tendencies and this is reflected in his scores in this area: 
Reactive Monitoring: 2
Non-interventionist: 2
 
Overall, the feedback indicates that Michael can always rely on his strong transactional styles, but needs to recognise that these may overshadow the demonstration of more transformational elements in his leadership.  The report shows that his fundamental personality characteristics should enable him to develop these styles further.
 
Example 2: Trudy is an ILAT-V.  Her responses fall in the Introverted, Logical, Adaptable, Theoretical, and Volatile Quintax Type classification.
 
Her overall leadership style scores are as follows.
Transformational: 4
Transactional: 3
Passive: 9
The rank order of preferences suggests that the passive style is most likely to predominate for Trudy, but also that transformational elements of leadership are more likely to show than transactional.  
 
In transformational leadership Trudy scored as follows:
Inspiration: 2
Creative Vision: 5
Consideration: 3
This indicates that the strongest transformational element for Trudy is Creative Vision, a conclusion supported in feedback from an interview.  An emphasis on building a shared understanding of objectives became apparent, along with a relative lack of inspiration and engagement with individuals at a personal level. 
 
For transactional leadership Trudy's scores were:
Feedback & Reward: 3
Proactive Monitoring: 3
On interview it appeared that Trudy managed teams well in a benign environment, but there was concern that tougher performance challenges might be less well met.  It was also noted that Trudy relied on a narrow set of people management tools based on logic and rules. 
 
Trudy showed strong passive leadership tendencies in her profile: 
Reactive Monitoring: 9
Non-interventionist: 9
As a strongly independent type, Trudy appeared to manage others as she liked to be managed, i.e. somewhat at arms length.
 
Overall, the feedback indicated that Trudy risks taking an overly passive style in leadership.  This can be effective when leading small teams of specialists.  Her greatest leadership strength to build  upon is related to her capacity for communicating a Creative Vision.  She would also benefit from developing a more personal and individualised style in managing others.
 
Quintax provides added value in enabling detailed assessments of leadership style of the type shown above.  In particular, it allows us to engage with the respondent over how they might operate when faced with the challenges of leadership.  This allows an open and developmentally focussed discussion to take place which can be beneficial to both the assessor and the respondent.

 

Level A and B Training News
New BPS Approach to Level A and Level B 

Over the coming year the British Psychological Society will be changing its approach to Level A and B certification.  Instead of the current system, in which successful delegates are certificated effectively 'for life' with no need for periodic re-assessment, the BPS is moving towards introducing a new system for recording and certificating the competence of delegates.

 
The Level A and B standards of competence have all recently been re-written.  Changes include the removal of some of the emphasis on calculation and the modernisation of the content to deal with new approaches in test use and development.  The exercise of re-writing has also enabled the standards to be brought more into line with european approaches being developed at the same time.  Apart from this it is likely that instead of the current UK certification model, delegates qualifications will be based upon their competency profile
 
This will be recorded by the BPS on a publicly accessible database and in order to maintain the currency of their qualifications delegates will have to join and maintain their membership of the Register of Competence in Psychological Testing - in the past a voluntary register.  While the names have yet to be determined, there is likely to be a first level qualification dealing with test administration while the second level will comprise elements from both the current Level A and Level B certificates.  This may open up the possibility of delegates qualifying at (what is now) Level B before, or perhaps even instead of, Level A.  A further implication of maintaining a profile of competence on the new system will be a periodic need (every six years) to demonstrate - in some form - continuing competence in testing.
 

Important Implications for Past Delegates
The Society has indicated that it has a plan to enable delegates who already have Level A and/or B to be grandparented into the new system.  However, if you are already qualified you can avoid the costs and time of this process by joining or by maintaining your membership of the Register of Competence in Psychological Testing.  If you are already on the Register when these changes are implemented, you will be transferred directly into the new framework with no grandparenting application required.  It makes sense therefore to take this step early so as not to be left outside the new system when it starts up!

 

We asked Dr Pat Lindley, a distinguished colleague and associate and currently Chair of the SCTS to comment on the changes described above.  The Steering Committee on Test Standards is the BPS lead body for dealing with issues related to psychological testing.  Pat said:

 
"Congratulations on getting ahead with the news of the impending changes. The changes are likely to take place in the middle of 2010, when the SCTS has had the time to implement the changes to the database for the Register.  From the launch of the new Register, as you say all those who are currently registered will automatically be transferred to the new format on the basis of existing qualifications at Levels A and B. From that date, competence will be demonstrated by being on the Register. Those on the register will be able to download a certificate that states that they are on the register, so it really is important to sign up.  The PTC and the SCTS look forward to seeing your delegates as part of the new system. And it will be sending out information as it becomes available."
 
The Psychological Test Centre (PTC) is an instrument of SCTS - click here to visit its website for more information on Level A and B and other matters related to testing.

People and Projects
Recent project work at SR&A
At SR&A we have a varied set of projects on the consulting side of our business.  The following are examples that we are or have been recently engaged in - contact us if you would like to discuss these further or if you have similar projects of your own that you would like to commission.
 
1  Screening Tool: Rob Davies and Vicky Edwards are engaging in a project to extend the validation of an on-line screening measure developed by SR&A for use by a local fire service in its recruitment of fire fighters.  The tool provides measures in two areas:
  • fit to the authority's values together with
  • two global personality dimensions which equate to the two styles of 'getting along' and 'getting on' at work. 
This part of the validation is providing additional data related to the criterion-related validity of the tool, by correlating scores with measures of performance for fire fighters, and related to its construct validity, by correlating scores with those obtained from other values and personality measures. 
 
Teleworking Project: Derek Wilkie and Vicky Edwards have been working over the last year on a project for a government agency related to homeworking.  This involved assisting the agency in its expansion of the number of people engaged in homeworking.  A major part of this was the design and development of a questionnaire to allow potential homeworkers to self-assess their suitability for this style of working.  After self-scoring they were then able to discuss the outputs from the questionnaire during interview with their line manager and a representative from HR.  The agency found this process extremely beneficial, and Derek and Vicky are now reflecting upon the approach taken and how it might be developed for the future.
 
Choices in Feedback Delivery
Face-to-face or Telephone?
One question that we are often asked by our clients is whether feedback must always be face-to-face, or whether it can be conducted on the phone.  We asked Derek Wilkie to give a view, and this is what he said.
 
"Best practice is usually assumed to require a face-to-face meeting.  This arrangement is most likely to lead to a successful feedback session as it is easier to gauge the reaction of the person, pick up on areas of misunderstanding, and detect resistance or denial of feedback information.  That said, it is often a very expensive activity in terms of time and travel costs for both parties.  Finding a mutually convenient time to meet can lead to delays and other problems, as it is a principle of feedback that it is most effective when provided soon after the event.
 
Deciding between the Options
There is no simple answer here, and it often comes down to the preference of the feedback giver and/or to client constraints on the arrangements.  However, there are a number of other factors that should be taken into account when deciding between the alternatives.  These include:
 
  • The purpose - informational feedback where the main purpose is to describe and explain assessment outcomes can be more easily dealt with remotely than developmentally oriented feedback where there is a need to test understanding and acceptance of feedback and to negotiate the setting of agreed development objectives.
  • Complexity of the feedback - a couple of ability test outcomes, or even a handful of assessment centre competencies are more easy to handle by phone than a personality measure with many individual scales.
  • The availability of shared feedback materials -reports from a 360 feedback can be shared before a phone feedback to enable joint discussion.  In comparison, a personality profile chart may be harder to share this way, as best practice suggests that complex profile charts should not be retained by clients.  Here there may sometimes be technological solutions available that enable documents such as profile charts to be shared across the Internet via a PC screen. 
  • The sophistication of the respondent - those who are experienced in receiving feedback are more likely to find phone feedback acceptable.  For some - especially those who have been turned down for a position or promotion - the lack of opportunity to discuss the outcomes face-to-face may be taken as evidence that the organisation does not appreciate them or their skills and competencies.
     

Where phone feedback is provided it is especially important to apply a structured framework for the feedback.  Despite our longstanding experience in giving feedback we always produce a tailored script or framework for phone feedbacks.  This should include:

  • A check on current circumstances: is the agreed time still good?  is the person in a place where they can talk freely?  do they have in front of them any necessary feedback materials
  • A reminder of confidentiality arrangements: any report back from feedback-giver?
  • A reminder of purpose of feedback: what elements are being covered?
  • Is there any aspect of feedback that needs to be flagged up for later, or discussed now?
  • Propose and agree a systematic approach to working through any feedback report
  • Dealing with each element of feedback in turn; seek and check understanding regularly; identify/correct misinterpretations; seek agreement to move to the next element
  • Seek an overview of the main messages and any conclusions from the feedback from the person - check against own view and discuss implications 
  • Check if candidate has any other issues from the feedback to discuss
  • Clarify how to seek further assistance if necessary and close - remind candidate of limits to confidentiality if appropriate
     

Remember that the feedback giver will not be able to rely on any visual cues from the person about how they are dealing with the feedback.  It's particularly important to attend to both the content and tone of what the person is saying, to try to pick up any subtle verbal cues, and to ask explicitly what the person is feeling and thinking about aspects of the feedback." 

Newsletter Feedback
Tell us straight! 
Why not email us if you have any feedback on the content of this newsletter.  If there are issues you want to raise or if there is content you would like to see in the next Newsletter we'd be glad to hear from you.  If you have any bright ideas about our services or products that we can share with others we will ask you if we can include them in a forthcoming Newsletter. 
 
Email newsletterfeedback@sr-associates.com to tell us what you think.
Who are we?
For Information 
SR&A Limited is a UK company based in Manchester and registered at the address shown at the foot of this Newsletter under Company Registration No. 4887351.  Specialising in Business Psychology, our company is led and run by Chartered Psychologists registered with the British Psychological Society.  Through SR&A, our psychologists have been working with people in business and the public sector throughout the UK and more widely in the EC since 1990.  Visit our website to see the full range of training courses, consulting services, and products we offer. 
Don't forget that you are welcome to call us on +44 (0)161 877 3277 to discuss any of the items above.
 
Kind Regards,
 

Stuart Robertson
Stuart Robertson & Associates Ltd
Free account set-up and 25% Off CMi Units until the end of September 09.
July Newsletter Offer: This offer voucher entitles the holder to set-up a CMi account free of our administrative charge of 50.  It also provides a 25% discount for CMi units purchased at the time the account is set-up and for any further CMi orders made on or before September 30th 2009.  The offer is only available to new account applications. 
 
Simply print out this coupon and send it in with your account application form and initial order (see above article for form download) for CMi units.  For new clients we will set up the account subject to receipt of payment of the initial invoiced order value.  For existing clients (e.g. Quintax Users) the account set-up and unit order will be subject to payment by invoice in the normal manner.  Note that the order must be received by us on or before the 30th September 2009.   
 
Offer Expires: September 30th 2009