What Is Your Personality Type, and How Does This Affect Your Success?
Home 5 Blogs 5 What Is Your Personality Type, and How Does This Affect Your Success?
What Is Your Personality Type, and How Does This Affect Your Success?
Home 5 Blogs 5 What Is Your Personality Type, and How Does This Affect Your Success?

In the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain makes the case that the world values extroverts but that introverts also have strengths that people should not overlook. Furthermore, Cain thinks introverted personalities also have much to offer the world. Today, we discuss personality and try to correct imbalances placed on one type of personality over another.

People misunderstand what introversion and extroversion mean. The common misconception is that introverts are shy, timid, and socially awkward. While all of those things can be true, and people that way are likely to be introverted, it is not necessarily the case for all introverts. For example, many actors are introverts, as well as stand-up comedians. Of course, many teachers are, too. However, these are all occupations that require being in front of people.

So, introverts are not necessarily afraid of people or have a fear of performing in front of an audience. Instead, introversion means the person requires quiet, alone time to recharge. Introverts find being around people exhausting. Extroverts, on the other hand, feel energized by being around people.

One way to think of the two personalities is how they get their power. If they get it by being around people, then extroverts. If they get it from quiet time, introverts.

Cain says people think about leaders and people who change the world as extroverts, and many of them are. However, some influential historical figures were introverts and relied on those personality strengths, like Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, and Steve Wozniak.

Personality vs. Situational Psychology

Personality research is fascinating. Psychologists fall into two large camps: Personality Psychologists and Situational Psychologists. Personality Psychologists study people based on their enduring traits. There are specific characteristics that make people different from other people, and we can group those.

Situational Psychologists agree that we have differences, but those are less significant than how we interact with our environment. For example, behavioral economics is Situational Psychology. When you consider the concepts of Nudging or Choice Architecture, the idea behind them is when framed in a specific way, people will move in a predictable direction because of situational cues.

The Big Five Personality Dimensions

Another exciting area that falls into personality research is the Big Five Personality Dimension.

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Five areas come up in personality research, often referred to as “The Big Five,” which include:

  1. Conscientiousness: This area measures your thoughtfulness and how good you are at impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. If you can motivate yourself in that way, you are considered high in conscientiousness.
  2. Extroversion: This one we already covered, but I will add some argue that this is the most dominant dimension.
  3. Agreeableness: This area measures your kindness and affection toward others and your charitable nature. Prickly or standoffish are descriptions used for people with low agreeableness.
  4. Neuroticism: Neuroticism measures how stressed you get and what stresses you.
  5. Openness: This one deals with your imagination and creativity, as well as how open to new ideas you are. If you are locked into a particular way of doing things and are resistant to change, then you are low in openness.

(If you’re curious about these five dimensions and where you fit on these, there are quizzes that you can take online.)

Exploring these areas can be helpful from a self-diagnostic standpoint. First, it helps us think about ourselves differently, emphasizing or identifying some things that might be strengths for us or areas of opportunity. Also, they might make us more empathetic by understanding that people think differently from ourselves.

The Facets of the Big Five

When researchers created this Big Five Personality Dimensions structure, they created substructures under each trait, called facets. So, let’s talk through each of these traits’ elements that might help us understand the overarching characteristics a little more.

Conscientiousness has the following facets:

Competence, which relates to efficiency

Order, which refers to the organization

Dutifulness, which relates to how careful you are

Achievement Striving, which is how thorough you are

Self-Discipline, which deals with laziness

Deliberation, which deals with impulsivity

Agreeableness has these:

Trust, which is how forgiving you are

Straightforwardness, which relates to being demanding

Altruism, which is associated with warmth

Compliance, which refers to stubbornness

Modesty, which represents humility

Tender-mindedness, which covers how sympathetic you are

Neuroticism has:

Anxiety, which is how tense you tend to be,

Angry Hostility, which is how irritable you are

Depression, how contented you are

Self-consciousness, which is related to how shy you are,

Impulsiveness, which connects to moodiness

Vulnerability is related to self-confidence.

Openness has these:

Fantasy, which is how imaginative you can be

Emotionality, which explains how much significance you put on feelings

Esthetic, which relates to artistic interests you may have

Action, which describes how adventurous you feel

Ideas that cover your relationship with authority

Curiosity, which represents how much you explore

Extraversion includes these facets:

Warmth, which is another way of saying friendliness

Gregariousness, which relates to how to like the company of others

Assertiveness represents how you present your ideas

Activity describes how you feel about being busy and the speed you do things

Excitement Seeking, which details how much stimulation you like

Positive Emotions explains how you can experience positive feelings

So, How Can You Use This Information Practically?

I see myself and where I would rank in these facet lists, as I would wager many of you do also. For example, I am curious, naturally. When I get a new iPhone, I don’t go to training for it to find out what it does. Instead, I push buttons and see what happens. That’s how I learn. However, I also recognize not everyone learns best by pushing buttons willy-nilly and hoping for the best. To be clear, I don’t see that as a criticism; one is not better than the other. There are differences, though; understanding them can help you work with people to improve outcomes.

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I don’t see this information about personality as a way to manage people. For example, the Myers-Briggs test that many of you have probably taken and I used to use in my corporate career is not reliable enough, in my opinion, to make management decisions. Nor do I think that these personality traits are either. So, in other words, I wouldn’t use results from this to make decisions about hiring or firing, management training, or anything else. Most of us do not have clinical training for this type of application. Instead, exploring these Big Five Personality Dimensions and their related facets is an excellent tool for self-discovery.

 The Big Five and its facets are excellent for self-understanding. I think that understanding yourself is the first call of leadership. You need to know what you are like to understand your impact on others.

If you extend that understanding to a customer experience, you will also know what’s impacting you and why.

The Big Five Personality Dimensions help us better understand our strengths and why certain things might be difficult for us. For example, it feels empowering to know why you think the way you do in situations and realize there isn’t anything wrong with you if you feel anxious in social settings or haven’t had enough social interaction.

Perhaps most importantly, understanding these things about yourself and others opens our minds and makes us more empathetic towards others. Realizing other people might feel something different in these situations can make us better managers of employees and customer experiences.

If you have a business problem that you would like some help with, contact me on LinkedIn or submit your pickle here. We would be glad to hear from you and help you with your challenges.

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There you have it. No promotions, no gimmicks, just good information.

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