Can Your Personality Type Make or Break Success in Your Industry?

Can Your
Personality Type Make or Break Success in Your Industry?

Numerous bodies
of research have demonstrated that those who make it in business—those we call
influential leaders—boast a series of qualities that are closely related to
personality. These include self-awareness, an interest in developing
others and
boosting their wellbeing
, a passion for strategic thinking and
innovation, and
effective cross-cultural communication
. These qualities are present in
larger or smaller doses depending on one’s personality, which is in turn born
of genetic as well as environmental factors. What are the major personality
dimensions, and how are they related to success?


The Five
Dimensions of Personality

In the field of
Psychology, experts divide personality into five dimensions: extroversion,
agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. They espouse that
these dimensions are present to a higher or lower degree in human beings. For
instance, someone who is high on the neuroticism scale may display emotional
instability, while someone with low neuroticism is able to maintain calm when a
crisis hits. In terms of neuroticism, it is evident that leaders who are able
to hold their cool instead of ‘losing the plot’ when a spanner is thrown into
their company’s works are highly coveted. Through their stability, they are
able to keep staff motivated and on track to achieve their goals, although
relevant strategies and perhaps the goals themselves have to be changed.


Are All
Successful Leaders Extroverts?

entrepreneurs, headhunted employees, and successful leaders are often described
as high
on the extrovert scale
 because extroverts are talkative, sociable, and
assertive. They also show plenty of enthusiasm for new projects and ideas and
are keen to take their company to the next level. Introverts, on the other
hand, tend to be more reserved, and they can feel drained of energy when they
are with others for too long. However, introverts
shine in college
 and in post-graduate education because they enjoy
having time alone to reflect on information, understand it fully, and digest it
in a way that makes it useful for exams, coursework, essays, and similar.
Therefore, whether introverts or extroverts are ideal for a job very much
depends on the skills required. An introvert could make an excellent Head of
Department at a university, for instance, while extroverts can shine in large
companies in industries such as sales and real estate. In these industries, a
fundamental love of being in social settings is key. 


Watch Out for
the Ambiverts

A research
paper by A.M. Grant of The Wharton School postulates that when it comes to
success, the ultimate personality type is
that of the ‘ambivert’
. These people fall somewhere in the middle on the
introversion-extroversion spectrum. Sometimes, they love being in the midst of
all the hype; at other times, they crave a little ‘me-time’ to re-energize.
Around 38% of people are thought to be ambiverts. According to Grant’s
research, one set of employees who didn’t identify as either introverts or
extroverts generated the most revenue in a call center
setting. The reason for their success, says Grant, is because they are better
listeners than pure extroverts but more assertive than pure introverts. While
his study focused on sales, ambiverts have other skills that set them up for
success. They are well-balanced, flexible, and able to connect with people from
many walks of life. They are also able to turn their introversion and
extroversion on or off depending on the moment.


There are five
major dimensions of personality, with most people having these dimensions to a
greater or lesser degree. Although executives in large companies often have
many extrovert traits, studies show that success can also be achieved when
introversion and extroversion are combined. Finally, introverts can achieve
great success in areas such as academics, where reflective thinking and
research skills are required.


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