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Personality Types and the Workplace


Robby

Here’s a brutal reminder about the world of work (and the world in general) that you know, but may have forgotten. Not everyone has the same personality as you. And worst of all, those differences in personality can drive you bonkers.

I’d love to be able to tell you that people in Central Indiana and in the greater Indianapolis area are more likely to have one personality type over another, but I haven’t found any studies that say that. What I do know is that if you learn a bit about the common factors that make up the way other people see the world and operate day to day, you can be more effective at your job and build your way to a better career.

So, let’s get started.

Personality Types in the Job Search
© Flickr User marcygallery

The first thing you should know is that there are about a zillion different personality type systems out there (DiSC, Myers Briggs, enneagrams, Type A/Type B, etc) and pretty much all of them are both helpful but not particularly scientific. They are sort of like a cross between the placebo effect and a horoscope: they do sort of work, but not for the reasons that they claim.

One that does have considerable validity is also one of the weirdest. It’s called the Five Factor Model. The name comes from a enormous analysis of the language we use to see what ideas tend to rise to the top.

The traits are as follows:

  • Openness: appreciation for art, unusual perspectives, and variety of experiences.
  • Conscientiousness: A focus on organization and dependability, and a sense of duty over spontaneity
  • Extraversion: The tendency to seek the company of others, and generally be talkative.
  • Agreeableness: A desire to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious towards others.
  • Neuroticism: Experiences unpleasant emotions easily, or an obsession with non-productive details

An easy way to think about this is that each person you know may score high or low on each of the five traits. But the fastest way to improve your relationships at the office is to figure out where you are most different than someone else.

For example, if you’re more introverted and they are more extroverted, their might be conflict around what they see as social dynamics as a way to build rapport.

Or, if you’re more agreeable and they are more disagreeable, they might see your lack of desire to have conflict as reduced commitment—and you might see them as just a troublemaker.

There’s tons more to say about personality types and the five factor system. But to start, just look at the list and see how you might be different than others.

Recognizing differences is the key to understanding personality. Pay attention so that you can have better interactions in the future!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, December 16 2014 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Corporate Culture

One Response

  1. lneidig46 December 16 2014 @ 1:44 pm

    I think your last comment says it all Robby. Better interactions lead to better communication and a more effective path to success. We are what we are. Our personalities aren't right or wrong. Embracing and working with those differences — not against them — is key.

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