First, understanding our own personality traits and tendencies is essential to be able to recognize character attributes in others, as well as how to work with them effectively and efficiently. We need to start with our own personality assessment. There are several free online resources to aid us along with discovering more about our personality types. Here are a few to get you started:
So, why is it important to understand how personality works at the office? One major reason is because it impacts the bottom line. For example, three people (let’s call them Bob, Carol and Joe) who have worked together closely for years get along rather well, yet also experience bouts of frustration working on various projects. Carol can’t understand why Bob becomes unnerved over details they have to plan out, while Carol’s matter-of-fact demeanor easily offends Joe. While on the surface they may get along, the lack of knowledge and awareness of their personality differences is what slows down the work process and quality, ultimately.
Personality differences are usually very simple to spot in the workplace. Behavior types can be categorized into motivation and interpersonal sectors. For instance, if someone is highly competitive, then that is where his or her motivation for work comes from. So, the boss would be wise to recognize these personality signs and assign the professional with an important competitor analysis project. On the interpersonal side, “Type A” and “Type B” personalities may experience friction in the workplace. For example, the “Type B” individual may feel that “Type A” is domineering, pushy and unreasonable, while the “Type A” person may feel that “Type B” is too slow and relaxed about work.
This explains why more and more employers are becoming aware of the fact that recognizing personality dynamics in the workplace plays a key role how their personnel think, behave, react to various situations and connect with others. Some companies choose to bring in personality experts to host a seminar while others simply invite team members to visit a complimentary assessment on a website. Either way, the important aspect to promote is educating ourselves about personality types and how we can best work out the differences together.
Recently, a new friend shared with me how her company offered a tailored personality assessment utilizing the DISC Personality Test to her department. Everyone participated and even worked together on mock projects in order to determine how well each group communicated with one another. She was very interested to confirm “on paper” who she knows she is, as well as learn more about her co-workers.
Learning about her “Compliance” personality type–main traits include analyzing, precision, high standards, systematic and being careful–she honestly thought she would probably not get along well with a “Drive” personality–main traits are decisiveness, high ego strength, being a problem solver and self-starter. I can understand why she voiced this opinion because the two types appear to be complete opposites on paper. Then I took the brief version of the test online only to discover my highest score was with the “Drive” category, and second highest with the “Influence”– featuring enthusiasm, optimism, persuasiveness, being talkative and impulsive as well as emotional. To her surprise, she realized that she can and does get along well with a “Drive” personality type, although I am not a severe case by any means. This proves how easy it is to assume ideas of one another, which can limit us dramatically. Unless we choose to learn more about others, and us, we may miss out on greatly improved interpersonal relationships, both in and out of the workplace.
While assessing our personalities and those we work with, we need to remember that there are extremes and variations within each type. We are human beings and are quite complex, so the personality assessments need to be considered with a grain of salt. However, if we do not teach ourselves about our similarities and differences, we choose to live and work with blinders on, not aware of how we can be most successful, both for individual and organization-based motives. For me, achieving a better understanding of who I am and how I work has improved my daily life, in addition to learning more about those I communicate with regularly.