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Importance of Personality at Workplace

Importance of Personality at Workplace

A professional on an average spends 6-10 hours each day at work along with his colleagues and regularly interacts with each other. A diverse organization has many members and building relationships is an integral part of any career strategy.

What are the factors that motivate employees to do a particular job? For some, it is the prospect of getting a higher pay and advancement up the chain of command. For some others, it is a feeling of accomplishment or the ability to work independently or even self development through their work. According to research, these factors are derived from the individual’s personality characteristics and if employers can find suitable employees whose natural leanings matches with the characteristics of the concerned job duties and responsibilities, they could see significant advancement in company’s success.

Personality is at the center of how we interact with each other on a daily basis and it provides a framework of an individual’s relatively enduring characteristics that make an individual unique and different from every other individual. It relates to people’s characteristic tendencies to behave, think and feel in certain ways. A person’s personality traits are usually identified by observing what behaviour they exhibit in different situations, and this is why there exists a relationship between personality & behaviour. Thus, the personality traits, or natural reflexes, that form an individual’s character are essential not only when predicting how people will interact and behave with one another, but also how they will fit with the tasks and responsibilities required for a position and the environment of the organization.

So which personality type should the employer hire? Should the recruiter favor generalist or the specialist? The extrovert over the introvert? The self-starter over the obedient follower?

The answer is – It depends!

Each of the types mentioned will offer benefits and also have certain drawbacks. The point is not to favor one type over another, but to match a personality to a given set of duties and responsibilities and to analyze whether the concerned individual will be able to cope up with the organizational culture and fit into the environment of the company. For example, a person who has high conscientiousness but is an introvert has high chances of being selected for an accounting job or data-entry job. The person might be very good with his work; however, if his introverted nature is pronounced to the extent that he cannot interact and communicate appropriately with his seniors & colleagues he might not be able to sustain himself in the job for too long. Thus, it is important to access the personality of an individual when making personnel related decisions. Many companies today along with their first impressions and gut instincts, also rely on standardized personality test scores to make an unbiased decision.

Big 5 Model

The Big Five’ personality model since its inception in the early 20th century has become one of the most extensively researched and widely accepted theories to explain personality differences. The model is composed of the following factors:

Emotional Stability: It is the degree to which a person is able to maintain his/her emotional balance

Agreeableness: It is the degree to which a person is likeable, cooperative and approachable

Extroversion: Assesses a person’s outward orientation – whether he or she is drawn more towards the social world of people and activities or the inner world of thoughts and emotions

Openness: It is the extent to which a person seeks out new experiences and is receptive to different views and people

Conscientiousness: Degree to which a person is productivity‐oriented, diligent, organized, reliable, striving and dutiful

The trait ‘Agreeableness’ helps foster teamwork, reduces the tendency for conflict, and makes interaction with others smoother. ‘Conscientiousness’ and ‘Emotional Stability’ explain the willingness and desire of an individual to meet or exceed job requirements, the ability to handle pressure, be self-motivated and work efficiently. However, it is important to keep in mind that the combination of personality traits that translate to successful job performance can vary, depending on the type of position and job role.

Thus, in an organization, people having differences in personalities may pose a threat to producing the best work results. The reasons and importance from an employer-emplyoee view point, for understanding the role of personality in order to determine the job-fit of an individual, includes:

  • Finding the correct job-role fit aids in improved work productivity and work satisfaction
  • A team is made up of individuals and personalities of the team members can be the mortar that holds the team together and makes it more cohesive
  • Understanding personality helps to utilize strengths and improve on one’s weakness
  • Aids in reducing conflicts, enhance participation and improved collaboration in the work environment
  • Prevents burn outs and reduces turnovers
  • Helps to communicate effectively and reduce communication barriers

Employers and HR Mangers therefore seek to find the right people with the exact set of traits for various job positions, there by,  increasing the company’s potential for success and sustainability.

Oindrila Roy
Knowledge Cell, Globsyn Business School

‘Importance of Personality at Workplace’ is extensively covered as part of post graduate management programs of Globsyn Business School

Image Sources:
1. Freepik - Designed by Sapann-Design and Business vector created by Macrovector - Freepik.com
2. Quora.com

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