Each one of us has unique personality traits that make us who we are. Whether we are introverted, extroverted, agreeable, amusing, etc., we all have different strengths and idiosyncrasies. Whether we’ve thought about it or not, our personality traits have a surprising impact on our jobs. Awareness of these characteristics can help your work behavior and can also aid in hiring the best people for a particular job.
The Big Five
There’s a lot of research about the five-factor model. We can use it for an overview of dominant personality traits and how they affect the workplace.
- Openness to Experience – People at the open end of the spectrum are interested in experiencing new things and are flexible. Those on the opposite side are more closed-minded and are hesitant to go out of their comfort zone.
- Conscientiousness – Highly conscientious people are typically diligent and devoted in both the workplace and in their personal life. Those with low conscientiousness are more of big-picture thinkers and may not be interested in the smaller details.
- Extraversion/Introversion – Most people can identify with one or the other immediately. Extroverts are very outgoing and enjoy interacting with others. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to work alone or in small groups.
- Agreeableness – This trait assesses how friendly or hostile someone looks while interacting with other people. If a person is highly agreeable, they are seen as trustworthy, whereas low agreeableness results in a person seeming oppositional.
- Neuroticism (Emotional Stability) – A person who is highly neurotic is emotionally unstable and often displays negative emotions. If a person is emotionally stable, they are more pleasant and can easily resist stress.
Why Does Personality Matter?
We’ve all met someone who is the complete opposite of ourselves personality wise. Chances are it could cause some frustration or misunderstanding, but having personality differences in the workplace is the key to a successful team.
For example, you need extroverts to work well with your team and your clients, but you also need introverts who can work diligently on their own. You also need those who are open to new experiences if you need someone to move to another department/position or if you need to test out a new product. For brainstorming new ideas, use people who are less meticulous to come up with big-picture ideas. Then use high conscientious people to fulfill the tasks that require attention to detail.
When hiring for a position, take into account the personality traits you can recognize upon meeting the applicant. Agreeableness is always a good trait to have, and you’ll want to avoid highly neurotic people who may not be able to handle the stressors of the job.
You can also assess your personality for more self-awareness of how you may respond to your colleagues and handle work tasks. Whatever you may be, embrace your uniqueness but be conscious of how your personality intertwines with your everyday work-life.