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Personality in the Workplace

Personality in the Workplace

Would you consider romantically pairing a six-foot one-inch female friend with a male colleague who is five-foot eight inches? Probably not, because thoughtfully bearing in mind social norms and their physical differences, and you can quickly detect the depressed likelihood of success in this circumstance.

What about assigning a spontaneous extroverted team member a quarter-long research project requiring them to work in an isolated location methodically repeating a series of steps? This mismatch of role and personality seem clear in how the situation is described, but how often do you consciously evaluate personality traits when distributing tasks?

Although more difficult to align than physical complements, matching personality in the workplace and responsibility can increase your chances of success for creating order in your organizations and in your life. Start paying more attention to the connection.

Personality assessment tools measure varying dimensions, plotting the traits analyzed within a defined spectrum. Different types abound including popular choices like Myers Briggs and DISC. The following illustrates a possible range of characteristics:

Dimension One end of spectrum

                 Other end of spectrum

How we take in information: Sensing


How we focus attention: Extroversion


How we make decisions: Thinking


How we deal with world: Judging


People often conclude one end of the spectrum is “better” than the other

While this may be true for a specific task, it is not a universal truth. As Getting Organized author, Chris Crouch, put it, “Certain personality traits may have a significant influence on your ability to become more focused, organized and productive. It is not a matter of any particular trait being good or bad, it is more a matter of whether or not the traits are a good match or a bad match for what you are trying to do.”

Incongruities may not surface immediately

They will eventually emerge in decreased work functioning indirectly (personal matters impede) or directly. For example, say you’re highly structured and do not react positively to using your instincts and being flexible. You might unknowingly procrastinate planning a press event because unconscious history references suggest you will feel uncomfortable through the entire experience—having to rely on quick, on-demand decisions.

Preventing work avoidance is possible

Different jobs call for different characteristics—and therein awaits opportunity. Perhaps you assign the press event to someone who is naturally spontaneous and unstructured. Or maybe you keep the assignment, being aware of your propensity to dawdle, creating a system to get you over the hump, and ensuring time spent in spontaneous mode is limited. Or maybe you allow a collection of mismatched assignments point to a career shift where you can better align your personality traits with your core responsibilities.

Self awareness breeds change

Many are unaware of their prominent personality traits and of how the characteristics of the folks on their team may impact them. If you haven’t already, get evaluated and/or assess your team. If you have already, go back and review the results. Doing so will help you to be more aware of who you are and when your personality is getting in the way of a good project.

Mismatches with job requirements and personality are not always apparent

An increased awareness of personality qualities allows for deliberate personality matches to engage you in creating a more orderly organization and life.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sue Becker recently became a Spark Productivity coach. One thrilling reason to have her is that she spent four days this summer training to become a Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner. If you’re interested in learning your Myers-Briggs type, the please reach out to Sue. She’d be glad to help.

Among other things, the Myers-Briggs assessment helps people learn about how they make decisions–a critical piece to the organizing process.

P.S. Looking for a new perspective on personality? Read about the Stephen Kosslyn Top Brain/Bottom Brain theory.

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