How to Measure Composure

Hiring future-ready talent requires identifying candidates who will thrive in an ever-evolving environment. Talent assessments can uncover candidates who possess a unique ability to manage pressure, even under uncomfortable circumstances. 

Personality characteristic of composure

When faced with crisis, rapid change, shifting landscapes and rapidly developing situations we need co-workers and leaders who remain calm, level-headed, and manage any panic that they feel. However, there are also times that we want to see a clear and open display of emotion, such as showing passion and excitement and getting swept up in enthusiasm after a positive outcome.

There are, of course, benefits to both sets of behaviors – and whether an individual is measured and level-headed or wears their heart on their sleeve, will be valued differently for different roles.

Composure is one of the personality areas measured in our ADEPT-15® questionnaire. Along with the dimensions of Awareness and Positivity, Composure forms the Emotional Style of ADEPT-15® which. together, examines how a person is likely to operate within a group or team.

How is Composure Seen in Behavior?

A person’s Composure will be seen in their behaviors to challenges and everyday working. Below are some of the leverage points and some of the things to watch out for.

   The Leverage Points

Those scoring high on the ADEPT-15® Composure scale are likely to be:

  • Calm and stable when in high-stress situations.
  • Steady and level-headed.

Those scoring low tend to be:

  • Open in their display of their passion, excitement and intensity.
  • Responsive and easy to read emotionally.
  • In touch with their feelings and emotions.

   The Watch-Outs

Watch out for the following with high-scorers on Composure:

  • Concealing their feelings and emotions and being ‘difficult to read’.
  • Being unemotional and apathetic; may be over rational and not consider the emotional side of situations.  

For the low-scorers on Positivity, watch out for:

  • Short tempers and irritability.
  • Being tense, reactive and unpredictable under stress.  

The Role of Composure in the Workplace

If we can measure the degree of Composure that an individual has, we are able to gain an insight into how they will react to pressure, manage stress, approach tricky situations and show their emotions.

Manages Pressure 

Those high on Composure are extraordinarily assured, composed, calm and level-headed. As a result, they possess a unique ability to manage pressure, even under uncomfortable circumstances, and do not get overwhelmed by big obstacles or challenges. 

Makes Sound Decisions

Individuals with higher levels of Composure are unlikely to make decisions reactively or impulsively, even when under tight deadlines or challenging circumstances. Instead, high-scorers are rational, uninfluenced by emotion, and make decisions by analyzing the relevant facts and possible alternatives.

Compensating for an Individual's Composure Score

As we can see with the leverage points and watch-outs listed above, Composure influences how an individual will display their enthusiasm and excitement, and how they react under pressure or stress. There are other ADEPT-15® dimensions which may temper or compensate for their score on the Composure dimension.

When Composure scores are low, we need to look at other scales:

  • Higher Positivity and Awareness can help mitigate low-scorers’ tendency to overact to negative events or come across as impatient and volatile.

When an individual scores highly on Composure, we may like to look for:

  • Higher Liveliness can help ensure high-scorers express their passion more and do not come across as uninterested and dispirited.
Read our guide, Reshape and Optimize Your Workforce, to learn how to hire for and develop the skill and behaviors your workforce needs for the future.​


About ADEPT-15®

ADEPT-15® is the most advanced, secure, and award-winning* personality test available. With over 50 years of personality, leadership, and psychometric research combined with an adaptive approach to assessment design, ADEPT-15® measures 15 personality traits critical to successful workplace performance. It looks at our preferences, work styles and tendencies as well as what gives us energy and our possible blind spots. It indicates our strengths and areas for development as well as the leadership style we may use, and how others may see us.

*M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research & International Personnel Assessment Council Innovations in Assessment Award

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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