Forensic Polygraph Examinations and Personnel Evaluations for the past 23 years.

LEADERSHIP - ESSENTIAL SKILL A POLYGRAPH EXAMINER MUST POSSESS

If a polygraph examiner can assume the role of a good leader, they can create an environment for the examinee that can lead to a higher rate of successful test results and even a higher rate of pretest and posttest disclosures.

An experienced examiner portraying good leadership skills will make it easier for the examinee to trust the examiner and therefore the examinee will be able to answer questions in a more elaborate manner. The examinee may also be more compliant with directions given during data collection and they may be more willing to have an open conversation about the results of the examination.

An examiner that lack leadership skills while conducting a polygraph test can cause disruptions and outside issues during the polygraph that can increase the risk of a false positive or inconclusive result.

Examinees are patently aware of how the examiner makes them feel. They can also be aware that they may be emotionally responding more to the examiner than the polygraph test itself-the examiner is now the main stimulus instead of the test questions.

Taking a look at the core communication skills of a good leader will help explain how appropriate leadership skills can enhance a polygraph examiner’s approach to a polygraph test, no matter the situation. Every communication, oral or written, builds a picture and creates an impression about the examiner and his leadership.

The importance of the body in core communication, which breaks down to body language, facial expressions, hand movements while talking, eye contact and the distance the examiner put between him and the other person. These are all non-verbal communication.

Further part of our core communication are active listening, eye contact, affirmative nods (when appropriate), avoiding distracting gestures, questions for clarification, paraphrasing, not interrupting the speaker, not talking over the speaker and smooth transitions between talker and listener is all ways to show you are actively listening.

Additional concept to core communication is emotional intelligence.

A polygraph examiner with emotional intelligence is a person who can “deal effectively with their own and others emotions.” It has to do with being able to perceive, express, understand, and manage the emotions in the current environment. This is a highly desirable trait for a polygraph examiner to have, for clients will react differently emotionally during a polygraph examination. Sometimes the polygraph examiner will have to be able to handle the client who is crying, end emotionally distraught. Sometimes he has to deal with an angry and frustrated client.

Examiners who possess an appreciation for how emotional intelligence can improve testing outcomes will be better able to successfully lead an examinee trough their polygraph examination.

The three remaining concepts to core communication to take into consideration are giving and receiving feedback, conflict resolution and negotiating skills.

Miller, P. 2012 Leadership Communication – the three levels; Todays Manager, Singapore Institute of Management, Issue February – March 2012, PP. 19 – 21.

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THE FOLLOWING ASPECTS IS IMPORTANT WHEN SELECTING A POLYGRAPH EXAMINER:

1. DOES THE EXAMINER BELONG TO A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION

· Most polygraph associations have standards of practice and a code of ethics that their members must adhere to in order to maintain their membership.  The gold standard for polygraph associations is The American Polygraph Association (APA). Established in 1966 and it is the oldest and largest international polygraph association in the world. Every polygraph school in the world strives to be accredited by The American Polygraph Association. The APA standards of practice and code of ethics hold its members accountable to adhere to the association’s standards of practice.

· According to the APA standards all polygraph tests should be conducted by using a video camera to record the entire polygraph test from beginning to end.

· The minimum standard to conduct a properly constructed polygraph test is approximately 90 minutes or longer.  If the test is done in a short space of time the test will be rendered null and void as it would be considered an unethical test which did not meet the minimum standards.

· According to APA standards of practice a polygraph examiner should not do more than four polygraph tests in one working day and if circumstances permitted no more than five polygraph tests per day.

· The APA requires an acquaintance test to be done on all polygraph tests.

2. WHAT CLASS OF MEMBERSHIP DOES THE POLYGRAPH EXAMINER POSSESS IN A PARTICULAR ORGANISATION

· A full member in The American Polygraph Association must have a Baccalaureate Degree and must be a graduate from a APA accredited school and must have completed no less than 200 actual polygraph examinations

3. WHERE DID THE POLYGRAPH EXAMINER RECEIVED INTERNSHIP IF ANY

· Ideally, the polygraph examiner was a law enforcement or government polygraph examiner mentored by experienced examiners in a structural environment. Examiners who simply graduated from a polygraph school and open a polygraph business did not have the opportunity to be mentored by great professionals as did doctors, lawyers and teacher. Polygraph examiners are not born great they are mentored to be great professionals.

4. DOES THE POLYGRAPH EXAMINER UPHOLD CONTINUED TRAINING, EVERY PROFESSION REQUIRES IT

· The American Polygraph Association has a certificate of Advanced and Specialised training which signifies the member has completed at least thirty hours of additional polygraph training every two years

5. WHAT TYPE OF POLYGRAPH INSTRUMENTATION IS THE POLYGRAPH EXAMINER USING

· There are four major polygraph instrument manufacturers: Axciton, Limestone, Lafayette and Stoelting. All are very good. It is imperative that the polygraph instrument has 5 channels i.e. having a “movement sensor” as this is an absolute necessity to render competent indication on truth and deception.