Mark Craemer 1 Comment

How much is your personality contributing to or detracting from success in your career?

One’s personality can directly impact their career because it can attract or repel other people. This matters in all relationships and it definitely impacts interpersonal relations in the workplace.

Have you been told of specific behaviors in annual reviews, 360 assessments or one-on-one conversations that are directly keeping you from being considered for a promotion or a raise? Are you unable to secure professional references that can attest to your personality as anything other than an asset to your suitability for a job?

If the answer to either of these is affirmative, you may want to consider gaining insight into the specifics of your personality and seeking advice on how to go about changing them.

The Big Five personality model divides personality into five broad categories: openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious), conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless), agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached), neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident), and extroversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Within each of these are specific traits or behaviors.

There are advantages and disadvantages to being oriented to either side in each of these categories, but some are more important than others in certain occupations. For example, a sales representative who is detached and reserved is unlikely to do as well as one who is friendly and outgoing.

It should also come as no surprise that studies have found that people who are more conscientious do better both in school and at work. Those who score high on agreeableness and low on neuroticism also tend to have more satisfying and stable relationships.

And extroversion was related positively to salary level, promotions, and career satisfaction while neuroticism was related negatively to career satisfaction, according to The Five-Factor Model of Personality and Career Success by Scott E. Seibert and Maria L. Kraimer.

According to Brent W. Roberts, PhD in what he calls the Maturity Principle, we all naturally become more conscientious and less neurotic as we age from 20 to 65. Most of us also tend to become more agreeable, more responsible and more emotionally stable as we age.

It turns out personality is about 50% innate and 50% learned, according to Christopher Soto, a research psychologist. This means you have a great deal of control over changing it should you decide to do so.

An emotional intelligence assessment can help zero in on your overall self-awareness. Specifically, it can measure your ability for self-reflection, self-regulation and empathy while in stressful workplace situations. This greater awareness can then help you figure out what you may want to do about it.

Changing any behavior should be done in small steps and takes discipline and dedication. Enlisting others or even a leadership coach can be helpful in order to give you the support you need to be successful.

Though the tendency is to focus on education, training and experience in order to move forward in our careers, it is often our behavior, communication style, and overall personality that may be worthy of consideration.

Better understanding how your personality contributes to or diminishes your relationships at work, can help you decide whether or not this is something you want to change. Though it’s difficult, we are all capable of changing our behavior. And it could make all the difference in your success at work and elsewhere.

— One Comment —

  1. For me, my personality have a huge impact on my career. Especially if you are in the job that deals with lots of people. With emotional intelligence, you will know how to act best accordingly towards a person’s emotion is the best asset a leader can have.

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