Avoiding the Dark Triad: How Should You Assess Your Non-Teaching Staff

Our first edition of the two-way series around CBSE’s mandate to deploy psychometric assessments across school staff – for its affiliate schools – succeeded in covering the essentials of identifying the correct assessments and designing the teacher assessment framework. This time around, we’re here to convey a couple of things you would need to know about assessing your non-teaching staff.

 What is the Dark Triad? You Don’t Want Them in Your Staff

In the subject of psychology, the dark triad focuses on three personality traits – narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. It’s branded dark because people in possession of these traits are often of malevolent quality.

Research on the same is used in applied psychology in fields of law enforcement, clinical psychology, and business management. In fact, people scoring high on these traits are more likely to cause social distress, create organizational problems, or even worse – commit crimes.

In description:

  1. Narcissism: Characterized by grandiosity, pride, egotism, and a lack of empathy.
  2. Machiavellianism: Identified by manipulation, a disregard for morality, and deception.
  3. Psychopathy: Defined by anti-social behaviour, impulsivity, selfishness, callousness, and remorselessness.

Of course, these are traits one can derive from psychometric test reports. For example, within the Big 5 personality traits, which the Mettl assessments are built on, low agreeableness is the strongest correlator to the dark triad. A lack of conscientiousness and neuroticism were associated with some of the dark triad traits also.

Qualities of the dark triad have often proven to be metrics of success in certain job roles. Everyone has them in some form or degree, and it does depend on how it manifests. But a diagnostic report on the dark triad along with pointed red flags could become deterministic in either the hiring or development of the same.


Framework for Your Non-Teaching Staff

As you may know, there are a common set of attributes ideal to the school environment. It’s applicable at least to a certain degree across all its employees, and it’s these subtle commonalities that augment both the environment and individual employee performance.

At the same time, the lowered likelihood of an employee holding these attributes direct to a weakened school environment, discomforted students, and more. Based on primary and secondary research, the in-house psychometric division at Mettl managed to isolate the essentials for the common non-teaching staff. They are:

  1. Student Care & Empathy - Tendency to demonstrate concern with an inherent ability to understand student needs and feelings. It’s addressed with the environmental creation of care and situational student help.
  1. Dutifulness & Discipline - A high sense of duty, obligation, and the ability to place great importance on following rules and regulations. To work efficiently despite external distractions or obstacles.
  1. Integrity - Propensity to remain honest, ethical, fair, and transparent in action and words. It reflects the trait of trustworthiness.
  1. Emotional Stability - Defined with the ability to remain even-tempered, calm, and objective when faced with frustrating situations.
  1. Stress Tolerance/Resilience + Positive Nature - An inherent ability to deal with crises and stressful situations in a confident and relaxed manner. It also attributes to enthusiasm and hopefulness with an optimistic demeanour.

 Of course, there are more traits in place that completes the assessment framework. But these compose of what you may call the absolute essentials. At Mettl, our diagnostic reports also hold subsections that intensively investigates the dark triad.

Note: Some examples of non-teaching staff include the Administrative Department, Sweepers or Cleaners, Bus Drivers & Conductors, or Children Care Takers among others.


Social Desirability: What if they fake it?

It’s one of the most commonly asked questions, considering psychometric assessments are built on a self-rating mechanism with several statements presented on a strongly agree to disagree response format. This is what we call the Likert Scale, and it does have its flaws. It’s popular because of the easy methodology behind it but does lead to problems along the lines of poor or inaccurate information.

Given the self-rating mechanism, it’s understandable to assume that candidates would present themselves in positive light to appear desirable for the role – social desirability bias.

At Mettl, we utilize a hybrid approach known as the Semantic Differential Scale. It presents applicants with two equally desirable options, removing the transparency of the more socially correct options inherent in the Likert Scale.

Schools exist to launch children into the future; and they need to feel safe within the confines of it. Your entire school staff plays a critical role in bringing all the important pieces of the puzzle together, to create something holistic and empowering for the students.

It’s better to leave the psychometric assessments in the hands of someone who cares just as much as you do in making that happen. And that someone is us.