What is Personality?
An individual’s personality is a unique entity resulting from the interaction between a person and his environment. It can be understood in terms of a person’s behavior, actions, postures, words, attitudes and opinions. Personality can also be described as an individual's hidden feelings about the external world.
"Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristics behavior and thought" (Allport, 1961, p. 28).
Components of Personality:
- Openness to Experience
- Neuroticism (emotionality)
Most psychologists believe that these traits are usually stable and result from interaction between a person's genes and his environment. Let us look at them in detail:
- Openness to experience- Inventive/Curious vs. Consistent/Cautious
Openness to experience refers to a person's accepted level of imagination and includes multiple experiences like appreciating art, experiencing various emotions and taking up adventurous ideas. Someone who is inventive and curious is likely to have a more active intellectual thought process and multiple/different ways of dealing with a situation or problem.
- Conscientiousness- Efficient/ Organized vs. Easy-going/ Careless
It represents a planned and organized approach rather than spontaneity and randomness. A 'structured' person puts great value on order and control which reflects a way of approaching tasks. For example, such a person plans a project to the last detail, in a precise manner. In certain extreme cases, it appears somewhat obsessional or overly perfectionist. A 'low structured' person has a more relaxed and casual approach to life. As long as jobs are completed, they do not worry about systems or schedules or organization and can sometimes appear disorganized. They may miss important details or be late for appointments. In a managerial sense, they prefer the over-view or strategic approach, rather than the detail-oriented approach of a project.
- Extraversion- Outgoing/Energetic vs. Solitary/Reserved
Extraversion implies energy, positive emotions, forcefulness, friendliness, and chattiness. The extrovert person is sociable, outgoing and attracted to others. However, extroverts can be impulsive and sometimes take risks without weighing the odds. Contrarily, an introvert is less concerned with others and is more inward-looking. Generally, they have a moderate outlook and a cautious approach to work, but lack excitement. Introverts do not want to be 'in charge' nor do they seek limelight. More often, their attitude is one of a personal challenge (the inner game), rather than competition with others.
- Agreeableness- Friendly/Compassionate vs. Cold/Unkind
The ability to show compassion and co-operation. It is a personality trait that can help you be an amicable person in the workplace. Giving a cold shoulder to people you encounter on a regular basis may not go down well and may hamper your work and progress in the long and short run.
- Neuroticism- Sensitive/Nervous vs. Secure/Confident
It refers to emotional stability, control over emotions and impulses, a tendency for anger, nervousness, despair, or susceptibility. Those with self-confidence are relaxed, optimistic, enjoy responsibility and like to be tested. Under pressure, they react calmly and in an organized way, and have faith in their coping ability. At work, they can deal with unexpected events easily, and present their views confidently. Those with low confidence or emotional instability, have difficulty coping with stress. While they can assume responsibility, they may find it to be a strain. They also question their abilities, and show pessimism. At workplace, they like predictability and avoid complex, open-ended situations. It suggests that routine jobs in large, supportive organizations are more likely to suit them.
Personality Development depends on:
- Clarity of personal and professional goals.
- Sincere efforts to learn necessary skills and remove weaknesses.
- Character and conduct
- Self-Confidence, will-power and self-discipline
- Positive thinking & good moral values
- Duty, responsibility and accountability
- Acceptance of others' feedback, especially criticism
An additional facet in personality assessment is that of Emotional Intelligence (EI). It looks at the traits that are thought to differentiate between average and high performers at a workplace. EI questionnaires measure things like:
- Self-awareness: Our understanding of our feelings and how we control them
- Emotional resilience: Our ability to work under pressure and to adjust to new situations
- Motivation: The energy and drive to achieve results and work towards goals
- Interpersonal sensitivity: The respect we have for others' needs
- Influence and persuasion: Our ability to bring other people around to our point of view
- Intuitiveness: The process of being able to come to a clear decision when we have only incomplete or ambiguous information
- Conscientiousness and integrity: Our ability to display commitment and match our words with action
Five Important Traits of a favorable Personality are:
- Trustworthiness, High integrity & Responsible
- Being Beneficial/ Advantageous
Negative aspects of a weak personality are:
- Hurting attitude
- Useless approach
- Non-beneficial communication
- Untrustworthiness, Irresponsible, Lack of integrity