How To Assess Locus Of Control

August 21, 2010

Locus of control is a personality trait, and it’s one of the most important things I listen for when I begin working closely with people.  In a nutshell, people with an internal locus of control (LOC) accept responsibility for the things that happen to them at work. Internals can see the systemic influences on their behavior (e.g. poor policies, broken equipment, improper training) but they accept responsibility for helping to make things better. People with an external locus of control never accept responsibility for the bad things that happen to them or for overcoming the challenges they face. Any problem is always someone’s fault, and any challenge is not their responsibility.

I got an e-mail from a reader of this website that asked for suggestions on how to assess LOC in a job interview. I have to admit that I am not an HR type, so I am not an expert on the hiring process. But I did some research and found a method I liked in a slick little book by Carol Quinn called “Don’t Hire Anyone Without Me.” In her book she has specific suggestions on how to assess locus of control, and the video above is my summary of her suggestions.

If this is something you are interested in, please take 4 minutes to view my video, or better yet, buy Carol’s book. If you want to learn a little more about my thoughts on LOC, check out the links below. And as always, please leave a comment!

Related Posts:

Attribution: Let’s First Talk Locus Of Control

Personality And Employee Engagement

I Am Responsible For My Success And Failures And For Continuing To Learn From Them

About the Author:

Comments (6)

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  1. Dan says:

    Great post. Can’t wait to try it out. I ordered a copy of the book too. Thanks Bret!

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Thanks to you, Dan! Keep me posted. Bret

  2. Julie says:

    Insightful post, I agree that it’s very important to have a sense of humility associated with an internal Locus of Control. Too many times I see employees that refuse to take responsibility, and without this ability to do so it’s nearly impossible to resolve issues. It’s only when we admit our faults can we get to the root of the problem, work together as a team and fix it. Also, this has an impact on employee morale which overall affects every aspect of the business. Without honesty profits ultimately suffer. Those individuals who do have an internal LOC increase growth, performance and turn profits -Thanks -Julie

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Julie. I was dealing with faults of my own just yesterday, so your insight is timely and appreciated. Thanks! Bret

  3. Al says:

    Interesting post. It explains why I like people who take it as a personal challenge to fix the systems and processes that ‘everyone’ says can’t be fixed. Those are the folks who bring positive change to the workplace, share credit, and are the most fun to work around.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Al. Thanks for sharing! Bret