How my Personality Profile got me a Remote Month in Porto

Remote working is not for everyone, or is it? Learn more about the role of personality profiles for remote working in this article.

Employee Experience

Leen Sawalha

VP Product & Growth

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


Leen: Hey boss, I want to join this program and go work remotely for a month in Porto.

Stephan (Leen’s boss): You know we encourage remote working and work life balance, but you’re pretty spontaneous, Leen. Are you going to be able to handle all your projects?

Leen: I know I’m spontaneous and I knew that would be your biggest concern – which is why I’ve set up schedules, calendars, reminders, and to-do lists to make sure my spontaneous nature won’t get the best of me.

Stephan: Excellent – I had no doubt you’d be well prepared, you results-oriented freak.

Leen: You know me too well, boss.

And that is the story of how me and my personality profile convinced my boss to spend a remote month in Porto (more or less!).

I know what many of you are thinking: What does my personality profile have to do with anything? I’ve been working for my boss for over two years now, he knows me pretty well at this point, right?

Right, but it’s not the whole story. The reality is that I have never been a “work from home” kind of person. And while work-life balance is a big part of AtmanCo’s culture, I like the structure that an office environment brings (that’s my Traditional side talking).

So, yes. My boss knows me well, but he doesn’t have any past experiences on how I would perform away from the office for an extended period of time. Would I be as productive working remotely? Would I be able to stay on top of all my projects? What about the rest of the team, how would my extended absence affect their performance and morale?

Luckily for us (mostly me), we are a provider of a scientifically validated psychometric test, meaning that we have everyone’s personality profiles on hand. And my personality profile got me a remote month in Porto.

But telling you that my personality profile helped convince my boss that I can make it work from across the pond for a month is one thing. And I don’t expect you to just take my word for it. Which is why I sat down with my boss and asked him to pinpoint what it is about my personality profile that made him confident in his decision.

Disclaimer: I am in no way implying that people with personality profiles that are different than mine wouldn’t make excellent remote workers. Different profiles have different strengths and weaknesses – it’s not a question of which profile is the best, but how you can use that information to get the most out of your people.

(P.S. I am only going to highlight 3 of the 11 personality dimensions measured by the Atman test. If you want to learn more about all the dimensions, click here)

Personality Trait #1: Traditionalism

As you can see, the extremes on this scale are Adaptability and Traditionalism, and I am as Traditional as anyone can get!

How my Traditional side helps:

Traditional people are more conventional in their approaches to whatever they do. They are also generally more faithful to rules and policies, and work well with clearly defined directives.

What should I watch out for?

Being too rigid and not embracing the new environment I’m about to put myself in! Adapting to change is not something that comes naturally to me, and ambiguity is not something I necessarily appreciate.

So, while my traditional side may not always work in my favor, it has certainly helped ease some of my boss’s concerns. He knows that my traditional side will not only mean that I will do everything that is expected of me, but that it will actually weigh heavily on me if I don’t!

Personality Trait #2: Results-Oriented

I’m very much on the extreme side of this scale as well, which has Team-Orientation at the other end of the spectrum.

How my Orientation towards Results helps:

People who are more Results than Team-oriented are ones that like competition and setting ambitious goals. They also want to do well because they want to be proud of their achievements. My Results-Oriented side is the source of my motivation to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do this, and do it well.

What should I watch out for?

Setting expectations too high. Results-oriented people believe that they can do just about anything (and why can’t we?!). It can be great in certain situations, but it can also open the door for stress and maybe even burnout.

Luckily for me, my boss knows my personality profile, and made it a point to sit with me and scale down my overly ambitious plan before leaving.

Personality Trait #3: Spontaneous

This trait of mine was the one that the boss found most concerning. As you can guess, planning ahead and being more organized would’ve certainly helped my case – but that was not to be!

How my spontaneous nature helps:

Just like any other trait, there are always two sides of the coin; strengths and weaknesses. My spontaneous side will prove to be useful should anything unexpected arise while away. I am quite comfortable dealing with emergencies and improvising when necessary, so neither me nor my boss are too worried from that aspect.

What should I watch out for?

That being said, spontaneous individuals are more easily distracted than those on the other side of the spectrum. Organization is also not something that comes naturally to me, so my boss absolutely required me to develop a complete plan of all of our projects for the time I will be away. While he doesn’t usually ask me for such detailed plans in my normal days (because he knows my profile), he knew that it would be important given the circumstances (also because he knows my profile!).

Why use a Personality Profile for Remote Working?

I hope that, at this point, I’ve convinced you of the benefits of using a personality profile for remote working, but allow me to summarize. Using a personality profile for remote working gives you two main advantages:

1. Use personality profiles for predictive value:

You may think you know a person very well. After all, you’ve been working with them for years now. But new situations are bound to occur no matter how long you’ve known each other for, and wouldn’t it be great if you could predict how a person would behave in these circumstances?

2. Personality profiles set remote workers up for success

Too spontaneous? Take the extra step to make sure you stay on top of everything. Too skeptical? Set something up that would allow for task transparency within the team. Too introverted? Commit yourself to events ahead of time to make sure you don’t isolate yourself.

Knowing your own personality profile and that of your team allows you to be better prepared. Also, there’s a lot to be said for self-awareness!

 And with that, I’m off to Portugal! Follow me on this adventure by subscribing to this blog (and following us on FB).

Are you a remote worker or have experiences with remote working? What are your thoughts on remote working and do you think personality plays a role? I would love a discussion so start one with a comment below!

Adeus por agora!

P.S. Don’t worry, Boss. I’ll send you a postcard 😉

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