Personality, personality, personality! That seems to be the only word we hear when talking about human resources management. Whenever anyone talks about job-fit, cultural-fit, conflict resolution, and even team productivity, personality always ends up taking center stage.
Sure, personality is important. It makes sense, anyway; certain personalities make an individual more suitable for a certain job, company, and team. But what exactly about employee personality is so informative? What should you be looking for when getting someone’s personality evaluated?
Do you want answers? Your wish is my command! Here are 11 employee personality facts you want to know about your workforce.
Employee Personality Trait #1: Learning Mode
How do your employees learn? Do they assimilate complex information quickly, or are they more comfortable with concrete data? Are they more analytical or methodical?
Knowing your employees’ learning mode not only helps you determine if they have what it takes to be the most effective in a certain position, but it will also tell you the best way to approach their onboarding, training, and development plans.
Employee Personality Trait #2: Character Strength
No, we do not mean a person’s ability to walk all over others!
Character Strength is a person’s tendency to stick to what they know. Are they traditional in everything that they do, or are they more adaptable? Do they do well in ambiguous situations, or do they prefer familiar, clearly defined directives?
There are some positions that require a person to be adaptable, ones who thrives in unfamiliar environments, and loves trying new things. But you wouldn’t want that person to be your accountant!
Wouldn’t it be useful to know where your employees lie on this scale?
Employee Personality Trait #3: Behaviour
When speaking of “behaviour”, you categorize people as being either spontaneous or organized. This personality dimension is one of the easier to understand.
People are either more organized, where they like to plan ahead and have detailed action plans, or more spontaneous, where they don’t mind interruptions, are not as detail-oriented, and are comfortable improvising.
There are, of course, those who land in between the two extremes, as with every other dimension. But, individuals usually have a tendency to be one or the other, regardless of the strength of that trait.
Wouldn’t it be cool knowing who to go to when you want to plan an important meeting? Or who to ask when you need something done right away?
Employee Personality Trait #4: Competitiveness
Have you ever met this person who seemed lazy and unmotivated at first, but became this fiery ball of accomplishments when pitted against someone else? What about the person who always seemed motivated, but surprisingly failed when asked to compete against others?
People are different, and this isn’t news! Some are more motivated by competitiveness and achieving results, while others gain their satisfaction when they are of service to others, and find themselves in harmonious work environments.
Employee Personality Trait #5: Motivation
Wouldn’t it be awesome to know exactly what motivates your employees? Wouldn’t it have been great if you knew that all your best employee wanted was more security and stability, and not the big corner office?
There are some who would move across the world for a better title or a prettier paycheck. But there are also those who have all they need in their benefits plan.
Different people have different motivating factors, and I’m sure you can see how knowing where your employees lie on this scale can be quite useful!
Employee Personality Trait #6: Assurance
Every time someone mentions university team projects to me, I immediately remember that one time where two of my team members went head-to-head on absolutely everything! It drove the rest of the group mad, and it took us forever to reach an agreement. Had I known the personality traits of my team members beforehand, I probably would have avoided that team like the plague!
Assertive individuals are just that, assertive! They are very assured of themselves, like to argue, like to lead, are opinionated, and can be quite persuasive. Conciliate individuals, on the other hand, tend to avoid confrontations, appear more composed, and find it difficult to express their opinion. There are those who are in-between, of course, but the point here is to recognize the importance of knowing the difference.
Especially if your business requires a lot of teamwork, it is critical to make sure the team is compatible and complementary. Having more than one member be very assertive can lead to a lot of conflict, but having all the members be conciliatory can also be detrimental.
Moral of the story: know your employees!
Employee Personality Trait #7: Level of trust
Mind you, we do not mean the level of “trustworthiness”. What we are referring to here is the level of trust one has in others when given information. Do they question everything, or do they accept things at face value?
Consider this: having a great employee who you think would make a great manager. But after a few months in their new role, you notice that this employee’s projects are not going quite as smoothly. Further investigation shows that your new manager is a little too trusting for their role, and is not performing the follow-up and control required to be done by a manager.
But what if this employee wasn’t too trusting, but too skeptical? Is that better? Would his/her team members appreciate constant follow-ups and questioning, or would they consider him/her too doubtful and untrusting?
People are different, and so are situations, but wouldn’t life be so much easier if you knew what you were dealing with?
Employee Personality Trait #8: Sociability
Now, this scale I’m sure you’ve heard lots about! If you’ve ever done a personality test, I’m sure most of you looked at your results on this scale and thought: “What?! That’s not true! I’m not like that at all!”
Believe it or not, though, different tests measure different things when looking at Sociability. Many people don’t even see the benefit of this scale in a business context. After all, who cares if you prefer crawling up with a book or going out dancing after work? If that’s what a personality test is measuring, then I agree! How is that useful information for me to know about my employees?
But do you know what is useful information? Knowing which of your employees is comfortable initiating contact with strangers, which make the best listeners, which prefer to be alone, and which thrive in social situations.
Actually, my colleague wrote what later became one of our most popular articles of all time on this very subject, and I highly recommend you check it out! (Try to trust me on this one, even if you may be more skeptical 😉 )
Employee Personality Trait #9: Nervous Tension
I dare you to go out and find me a manager who will tell you that they didn’t wish they knew when their employees were becoming burnt out.
Whether it’s for your current employees or for your potential ones, you want to know how they are going to react under pressure or when faced with stressors at work. Are they calm, cool, and collected? Are they affected by stress, but not dangerously so? Or are they so anxious that they’re close to snapping?
If that’s not useful information, I don’t know what is!
Employee Personality Trait #10: Emotional Maturity
It’s common knowledge that people become more emotionally mature with age. You don’t really expect a 40-year-old to be as hot-headed as a 16-year-old, do you? But of course, that doesn’t mean that every adult is emotionally mature!
Some people are more tolerant, cool-headed, and have good self-control. And there are others that are more intolerant, easily irritable, and are quick to react. But just because you’re intolerant doesn’t mean you’re a bad employee, and definitely not a bad person!
But if you knew that a person was more intolerant beforehand, you would know to adjust your language and approach, and save yourself a lot of conflict and heartache! And wouldn’t that be nice?
Employee Personality Trait #11: Energy
Do your employees have good endurance, or are they more sensitive? Are they thick-skinned, capable of enduring difficult working conditions, and have good control of their feelings and emotions? Or are they quickly affected by others’ moods, sensitive to criticism, and very empathetic towards others?
There are some positions that require a person to be sensitive and empathetic in order to understand others’ needs and help resolve their issues. But there are also positions that cannot afford to have a sensitive person’s energy be drained at the slightest hint of stress or pressure.
Everyone is going to experience stressful situations at one time or another, but wouldn’t be great to anticipate how they’re going to react ahead of time?
Whether you like it or not, employee personality plays a great role not only in life, but in business as well. There are employee personality facts about your workforce that would make your life so much easier had you known them beforehand. But what’s important to remember is that while extremes are rare, a tendency to be one thing is always stronger than the other. And lastly, there are no “good” or “bad” personalities; just the right personality for the right job, the right team, and the right company. Do YOU know the personality traits of your workforce?