Are Your Personality Traits Derailing Your Career?

21 Jan

success-motivation-managementHow many of you have taken a personality traits test to identify what type of learner you are? Do the test titles “What type of partner best matches your personality?” or “What job field would you excel in?” ring any bells? For the most part, the Myers Briggs personality test can help individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses and may better explain why we do the things we do. According to the Briggs test, there are 16 personality types to identify with. (If you’ve never taken the Myers Briggs personality test, do a quick search online. Many sites will let you take the test for free, so you can quickly and easily identify what personality type you have).

Traits That Can Hinder Career Advancement
A recent SHRM survey showed that personality traits can either help or hinder employees trying to move up in the corporate ladder. Think you know which personality type were surveyed to be more successful than others?

If you immediately pinned the personality type labeled ENTJ – which stands for extroverted thinking intuitive judging – you’re right, but only to a certain point. ENTJ’s are assertive and outspoken with a drive to lead others. Although ENTJ’s are classified as being intelligent and well informed, they have little patience for inefficiency and disorganization, especially in the workplace. ENTJ’s often advance to a certain level of the corporate ladder then hit a glass wall due to their competitive and intimidating behaviors.

PDNI Ninth House released a study in August revealing that many business-unit leaders scored highest in this category, which was helpful to their career to an extent. Once they reached level of CEO, however, the competitiveness that drove them to that point starts to threaten their careers. When they are too focused on benefiting themselves, it can derail their upward trajectory. Negative tendencies such as a competitive edge, selfishness and intimidating behaviors do not make for good business leaders.

Traits That Yield Success in The Workplace
It may be less of a shock to know that the most successful CEOs and senior level executives fall into the ENTP category. Someone who is classified as ENTP – which represents an individual with extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving personality traits – is able to bypass their ENTJ counterparts. Unlike ENTJ’s, ENTP’s direct others in positive ways. HR Magazine identified successful supervisors (ENTP’s) as being individuals who can influence others (rather than intimidate team members to get their way), with high levels of energy. Through it all, this group still maintains a take-charge approach.

ENTP’s are creative, resourceful, and quick thinkers, which helps them identify and understand conflicts. These traits assist them in the workplace to go about solving problems in a logical way. ENTP’s are well-versed in considering others and know that positive influence with a bit of assertiveness yields better results than backing employees into a corner and being impatient when mistakes are made.

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, and ENTJ’s may find a way to break through the corporate barriers. If and when they do, it’s important for them to take a minute and remember that not everyone shares the same attitude. If ENTJ’s want to ensure a long and successful career, they’ll need to focus less on micro-managing others or using hidden agendas to motivate action within the workplace and instead brush up on their people skills. Research consistently shows that one primary reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t like their boss. ENTJ’s have a hard time connecting with others, which comes from differences in individual temperaments. If ENTJ’s aren’t able to compensate for their lack of empathy or patience in some way, they may have a hard time retaining employees.

Now that you’ve been educated on personality traits in the workforce, it may be time to reevaluate how you approach problem solving, teamwork and managing yourself in the office. If advancing your career is a goal for the New Year, make sure you don’t spend your energy competing with every co-worker or brainstorming ways to put others down to better your image. Instead, take charge by showing you’re a team player with a lot of ideas. Positive energy is contagious, making it a great way to influence others in the workplace and show off your leadership skills instead of manipulating them to get what you want.

Managers might find it beneficial to have all employees conduct a personality trait test. The findings can help supervisors better understand how to communicate with individual workers based on their personality type results. Any tools that help communication within the workplace should be utilized by human resource managers and employee supervisors. The Myers Brigg test is one tool that can aid in understanding how employees work and the different ways in which people learn.

Are there any other personality traits that you’ve seen have positive or negative effects on career progress? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @SageHRMS in your tweet or drop a note on our LinkedIn forum, Human Resources & Payroll Challenges for Midsized Businesses.

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