Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in your workplace environment? Or maybe you feel like you don’t match well with your coworkers? Probably you don’t understand why your boss always smirks when criticizing you, or you don’t understand why some of your coworkers are always whining.
You can be a manager and feel like your team is slowing you down. Why are they so damn lazy and whiny? Every time you call them for a reminder they run to the HR, to complain the moment they’re out of your door?
Unfortunately, all of these are pretty common workplace problem. When you work with human, there is emotion involved. This makes your workplace become both interesting and sometimes irritating.
Emotions are not easy to understand, but once you do, you will learn how to manage your work environment better.
To understand how to manage people in the workplace in a better way, learning about personality and attitude is important. Personality and attitude influence a lot of things in the work environment.
If you are an entry level employee or manager, you’ll find out how understanding the concept of personality and attitude will help you to work with your co-workers in a better way.
Personality in management
Every person is unique, they have certain things they like, certain things they don’t like, certain things they’re extremely good at and certain things they’re totally clueless about.
Personality refers to the whole personal traits in an individual. Personality is difficult to change. It is something that people are born with.
It sounds like a terrible judgment about someone, but actually there is no such thing as bad personality. Every person has their own strength and weakness.
Understanding personality can help you in identifying which area you should focus on. Generally, you should focus in areas where you are the best and then the area where you need to improve.
For example, if you have a friendly personality – where people seem to be comfortable around you – you can choose a job that will benefit a lot from this trait. Maybe Human Resource Department is your solution, or even Customer Service.
On the contrary, if you are more adept at handling machine than handling people, you’ll benefit a lot by choosing IT department instead of sales.
If you’re a manager, understanding your sub-ordinate’s personalities will help you to map their talent better. Which person you should recommend to other departments and which person you should choose as the team leader for a certain project, and so on.
How do you know what personality you are or your team member is?
Currently, there are two most popular indexes to determine a person’s personality in the work environment. They are The Big Five Personality Traits and MBTI.
The Big Five Personality Traits
The Big Five Personality Traits is also called The Five Factor Model. The model explains that there are 171 personality traits in a person and people can be ranked or measured based on those traits. From these 171 traits, they further identified five root personality traits.
These five root personality traits are:
People with high conscientiousness are perceived as highly organized, punctual, rules-abiding if not somewhat rigid. People with low conscientiousness are perceived as flexible, open minded, but also sloppy and unreliable.
People with high emotional stabilities are perceived to deal with difficult situation in better mental condition. They don’t get anxious, angry or depressed easily. People with low emotional stability are perceived to be more neurotic, anxious and worried.
Agreeableness measures someone’s tendency to act compassionately and cooperatively with others. People with low Agreeableness are rather difficult and antagonistic.
Extraversion and Introversion
Extraversion measures whether someone thrives more in company of other people or when he or she is alone. Extraverts are perceived as more dominant, social, noisy and leading, while introverts are perceived as more reserved and quiet.
Openness to experience
People with high openness to experience don’t mind new environment, spontaneity, adventure and other “exposing” activities. On the contrary, people with low openness to experience prefer to persevere in current condition. They also like safety and constant condition.
Myers-Briggs Traits Indicators – MBTI
MBTI is abbreviation for Myers-Briggs Traits Indicators. It was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs-Myers based on the theory proposed by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.
MBTI recognizes four core personality traits that determine one’s personality. They are:
This trait refers to how someone recharges his or her energy. Extraverts recharge their energies by meeting other people, while introverts drain their energies while meeting other people. In contrast, introverts feels more energized spending time alone while extraverts feels miserable and tired when they are alone.
This trait refers to how someone collects information to make decision. People with sensing look for detailed facts, data and evidence. Meanwhile, people with intuiting prefer to look at the big picture, abstract ideas and theories.
This trait refers to how someone makes a decision. A thinker will make a decision based on how logical it is for them, while a feeler will make decision based on how it will make them feel.
This trait refers to someone’s orientation with the outside world. People with judging traits are usually organized and structured, sometimes even rigid. Meanwhile, people with perceiving traits are flexible and spontaneous.
Attitude in management
Attitude is someone’s persistent tendency to think and behave in certain way toward a certain situation.
For example, someone can think that work life is not something important and behave like it is just the same as any casual situation.
You won’t think that this person has a bad personality, but you and your co-worker will agree that his workplace behavior is bad.
Attitude in work place can affect a lot of things. If you are an employee and you display negative behavior at work, such as being lazy or unenthusiastic, you may hurt your future career.
If you are a manager, you will notice that one of your subordinate’s negative behaviors can affect other co-workers in your team and this will lower the overall performance of the team.
Fortunately, unlike personality, you can change your attitudes. It is because – attitude is thought and behavior, while personality is trait.
Attitude has three components – thought, information and action. Without the three of them, the attitude won’t be formed. So to change your attitude, you will have to change these three components.
However, changing attitude is not easy.
There are two big barriers that can prevent changes that you want in you – or someone else’s – attitudes. The first barrier is the force of old habit and the second barrier is insufficient information about the new attitudes you’re supposed to adopt.
There are various ways to facilitate attitude changes, some of them are explained below:
Obtaining New Information
Often, you can’t change attitudes simply because there is not enough information about it. You don’t know why you should change your attitude or even if you do, you don’t know where to start or where to look for help.
So, the first step to change your attitude is to obtain information as much as possible. If you want to show more enthusiasm or positive thinking, study about it. There are various sources that can help you with that, from self-help books to internet courses, or even real life mentor.
Persuasion by Friends or Peers
Humans as social animals usually hate to be different from their peers. Human also like to mirror others. So, if you want to change your attitude, surround yourself with people who display such attitude. For example, if you want to break free from unproductive behavior in the office, cut your interaction short with those who often interrupt your work with gossiping session.
If you have open space office, choose to sit next to those co-workers who have productive behavior. You will feel out of place when you start to open your mouth to start gossiping. At the first time, it will feel like torture. However, as time goes by, you’ll be able to get used to the new situation and change your attitude.
Induce Fear to Yourself
Fear can be a powerful motivation tool. However, it is hard to fear yourself, so you will need to find a way that will make you afraid of not changing your attitude.
You can do this by your own self or you can ask for help from others. If you want to do this by your own self, it will be easier at first, but it will become harder as times goes by, because the consequence won’t be big.
Asking help from others will make it feel like hell at first, but it gets easier as time goes by.
If you want to do this by your own, you can set up a punishment and reward program. For example, every time you get distracted from work or every time you think negatively about yourself, you make a promise to donate $1 to social cause.
If you want to involve other people in this experiment, talk to friends and colleagues with whom you spend most of your time. Make them remind you of your punishment. For example, every time you get distracted from work, you will buy your co-worker a coffee.
In conclusion, personalities and attitudes can really change your work performance, and in turn will help you in management. If you are a staff, you can understand yourself better and develop your strength as well as fix your weakness. If you are a manager, you can facilitate your subordinates to realize how to make the best of their personality and direct their attitudes to positive changes.