In any given workplace, there is likely to be a mix of different personalities that together contribute to the company’s mission and goals. Personalities can have a powerful affect on your attitude toward work, influencing different facets of your professional approach. Some personality attributes may help you become a better employee; others may represent challenges to overcome in order to maintain professional in the workplace.
One way that personality can affect your attitude toward work is through motivation. People work for different reasons. Individuals with family-oriented personalities may work to earn a paycheck and benefits in order to support loved ones. Competitive-natured people may be motivated by the thrill of beating out colleagues and competitors. Passionate-minded employees might have a positive attitude toward work because they love working in their particular field or industry. Professionals with altruistic personalities might view their work as contributing to a better society.
Personality can affect attitude toward work with regard to stress. High-octane individuals may thrive in a stressful, competitive or aggressive work environment. Other employees might have an even-keeled approach to stress, not letting work pressures affect their mood, relations with colleagues or personal life. Some employees with sensitive personalities may be overcome with anxiety in stressful workplace environments.
The workplace inevitably involves relations with other people, including managers, co-workers, vendors, competitors, employers and clients. Personalities can influence attitudes toward interpersonal relations at work. Outgoing personalities may welcome opportunities to network, debate, share ideas and pal around with other professionals. More reclusive personalities might feel more comfortable working solo, or in small groups of people. Aggressive or confrontational professionals can struggle to connect with other people.
Another way that personality affects work attitudes is level of professionalism. Jokesters and fun-loving professionals might struggle maintaining the right level of formality in the workplace. Individuals with a casual, easy-going personality might be frequently late or miss deadlines. Serious personalities may treat their job with respect, strictly adhering to company rules and policies. Individuals struggling with dishonest tendencies might be tempted to steal office supplies.
Work attitudes about risk can also be influenced by personality. In some fields (for example, finance, investment or real estate) risk is an inherent part of the job. There’s always a chance that money, clients or investments will be lost. Some personalities thrive in a risky, high-adrenaline environment. Risk-averse individuals might not perform as well in such environments, although employers might balance teams with both personality types to avoid taking on excessive risk.
- "Graziado Business Review"; Personality Traits and Workplace Culture; Mark Mallinger; 2001
- Personality Research.org; The Five-Factor Model of Personality in the Workplace; Sean P. Neubert
- Fox Business: Why Personality Matters in the Workplace; Michael Woodward; March 2011
- University of Phoenix; Personality Conflict in the Workplace; Patricia Addesso; May 2009
- Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images