understand personality in the workplace

Who are You? How To Understand Personality in the Workplace

[tweetthis]“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin #Personality[/tweetthis]

Truer words have never been spoken, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve heard this exact same thing many times (just in different words). From the glass half-empty versus the glass half-full debate to the awkward photos of the blue/black vs. white/gold dress circling social media in the spring of 2015, the manner in which we see the world is shaped by who we are. The same can be said for any professional organization – the employees working in a department will shape the atmosphere of that particular work dynamic because of their individual personality, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. That being said, we need a tool that allows us to determine the suitability of candidates for essential job duties we are looking to fulfill. We do not necessarily need to know if someone is an analyzer or a driver, but we do need to know if they are suitable for the job. Every person is a complex being made up of numerous pieces, and we cannot just box someone in to one personality type if we wish to see true success and fit for the job in our assessment and selection process.

Because our specific personality will affect our work attitude, behavior and performance in important ways, it’s critical for employers to understand the importance of personality traits and their potential causes for concerns in the candidate’s ability to team with others, his or her approach to problem- solving, and the candidate’s ability to take initiative and act as a team leader. Therefore, a state-of-the-art job suitability assessment being used prior to placing an employee within your organization is a remarkable tool to help you understand how suitable this person really might be for this role in your company and on your team.

The most commonly used selection tool worldwide is the interview; yet, 95% of interviewers are untrained, using only their experience to interview the candidates instead of specific interview training and guidelines. Interestingly enough, the validity rate for the most commonly used selection tool is the lowest. That is the beauty of job suitability assessments – they identify essential traits needed to perform well in a specific job role. Instead of characterizing an individual as one personality type, a job suitability assessment will identify a myriad of traits that the candidate holds, and analyze how those traits will affect their job performance. If we as HR professionals conduct interviews based on our experience alone, there will undoubtedly be bias as we question what the impact of this candidate will be on me personally as a co-worker as well as the impact on the company as a whole. Often, interviewers identify with one or more characteristic, a shared baseball team, or bonding over a neighborhood hangout when analyzing a candidate. This bias comes into the decision-making process as the subjective factors carry weight that should be decided by objective measures and job suitability.

Unlike a basic personality test that asks a handful of questions to identify a person as one type, a comprehensive job suitability assessment tool will actually measure 175 factors that can help predict employee engagement, motivation, interpersonal skills, and retention factors. The combination of factors for each specific job is weighted and targets qualifications and engagement with the particular role. Can you imagine the increase in productivity, enhanced teamwork, decrease in employee turnover, and the cost savings that the use of these assessments could create in your workplace?

According to Today magazine in late 2014, working in any type of setting calls for people to get along in order to meet deadlines and be productive. This is a valid argument, as conflicts among people in an office environment can slow down projects, threaten deadlines, create unnecessary criticism, and make for at times, a toxic atmosphere. In order to have a successful working relationship with your peers and supervisors alike, it is important to utilize the knowledge that we have about personalities. For instance, type A personalities are task-driven, crave order, and like to stay on task. On the flip side, free thinkers and the technologically-savvy millennials thrive on creativity and flexibility. Having individuals of these questionably oppositional personality types work as an efficient unit can be quite the challenge.

Equipping your employees (and especially training your managers!) on how to deal with personality types of all kinds can greatly increase your productivity and company culture. Here’s how!

1. Use assessment tools to determine the complex personality makeup of each employee, and what works for each one.

2. Choose your battles – this tip is useful in life in general. Not everything is worth the fight.

3. Don’t take it personally. Many times, workplace conflicts are a result of different personality types, working styles, or morals and values. Remember this, and do not take every workplace discussion or disagreement too seriously.

4. View your co-workers as a team. Everyone is there for the same purpose, and each person brings a different perspective to the table. Use that to your advantage; do not allow it to become a stumbling block to success.

5. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Sing it with me! Everyone deserves it, everyone craves it. And it really doesn’t take that much effort to give a little bit of it.

Granted, some personality traits are a tad more difficult than others to work with day in and day out. Egos get in the way, grumpiness affects the entire team, and gossip can destroy a department. So before any of those things gets out of control, identify the source of the problem and tackle it head on.

Leverage the strengths within your organization to create positive change. Influence the productivity of each department, and encourage healthy competition amongst your employees. The changes you’ll see may not be automatic, but considering the personality strengths and weaknesses amongst the team will lead to a more dynamic and thriving company culture. Our perspectives change our environment – each employee brings value. But, these job suitability assessment tools bring you an added scientific and tested method for success. The wisdom of math algorithms and psychology to produce an objective assessment is a valuable tool to add to your toolkit of knowledge that each individual brings to the role (your own perspective). Objective measures add to the richness of our own perspective and intuition as managers and leaders, which also should not be underestimated. It is in this combination of factors that true success can be found for your company. Peoplescape can offer these job suitability assessment services to your company, so that you can effectively combine the hiring manager’s intuition, experience and knowledge with objective measures of job suitability, and interview training for your managers to create the gold standard in selection strategy for your organization.