How Understanding Personalities Can Change Your Career

October 23, 2019


How would you define your personality?


Are you reserved, outgoing, laid-back, or high-strung? How would you define the personalities of the people you live, work, and spend your free time with?


If you’re not sure, then it’s time to start investing in understanding the personalities around you. This ability can not only enhance your personal relationships by increasing empathy, but can have a positive impact on your professional life, as well.


Understanding your personality


It can be hard to identify our personality traits on our own, so we suggest gathering information about ourselves by looking at and listening to others.


For example, if someone tells us that we’re overbearing - maybe we don’t want to hear it, so we dismiss it. But if another person says the same about us, then that’s a signal that we have a personality trait that we might not want to address or acknowledge.


It’s important to remember that information we hear about ourselves doesn’t come from neutral sources, so it might not always be something we can hear right away.


In our recent post we outlined a 3-second process to help us develop our emotional intelligence which can be helpful in tense moments. 


Once we have a better understanding of our own personality traits, we have a few options to choose from:

  • We can “live with it” and choose a life that conforms to our personality.

  • We can mitigate aspects of our personality, pushing boundaries but not fully changing that aspect of ourselves.

  • We can actively work to change it.

Understanding other people’s personalities


Individuals with high emotional intelligence are also good at understanding what makes other people tick. They take the time to observe, ask questions, and assess others in a nonjudgmental way. 


A great way to understand how other people react to stressful situations and times of change is developing your understanding of change management. This knowledge can help us navigate stressful situations at work successfully, and without conflict.

For example, if you know that your temper tends to flare up when you’re working under a tight deadline, explain to your team:


“I know I have a tendency to let my emotions get the better of me when I’m overwhelmed. I’m doing my best to stay level-headed, even though I’m stressed.”


The simple act of being honest with others creates opportunities for trust and empathy, which are connective and motivate teams to work together. 


Understanding how other people react to change can also help us stop taking other people’s personality traits personally. While it can be easy to take things personally, it’s important to determine if their behavior is based on something you did, or if it’s just how that individual expresses themselves.


Using the information


Knowing your personality allows you to shape your future by creating the right situations for yourself, and by being empathetic towards others.


For example, if you have a tendency to lead, and like thinking “big picture”, then that’s an indication that you might want to pursue a role in management, or in the C-Suite.


Conversely, if you love digging into nitty-gritty problems, seeking out a technical career where problem-solving is a big part of your day would probably be more well-suited to your personality type.


By developing your emotional intelligence and an understanding of how others react to change, you can use this knowledge to your advantage when choosing your career path. 


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You can also register for our upcoming emotional intelligence online certifications, or join us in-person in Saskatoon on November 6, 2019.


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