Personality and professional development

Our personality can be a determining factor in our development and career. But can work change your personality? or is your personality capable of changing your work environment? How can knowing personality traits for work and professional development help us?

Languages, experience, academic training, knowledge or technical skills are fundamental elements when playing and enhancing one’s professional career; but there is an element that, although perhaps going unnoticed, also exerts a huge influence on both the workplace and the business culture: personality.

The unfinished personality

People come with a given backpack: our genetics, our temperament. Inside it we put and develop different resources: knowledge, talents, abilities… both cognitive and socioemotional. We acquire a weight and a legacy that makes us who we are: they shape our character, they mold our personality.

“We are unfinished beings,” says Paulo Freire, “and it is precisely there, in this radical nature of human experience, that the possibility of education resides. Throughout personal development and growth, both educational and professional, there are certain personality factors that are and will continue to be malleable. We can always achieve more, be more, be better.

An inseparable binomial: Work and personality

In the workplace, personality can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as in the way we communicate, solve problems, lead or work in a team. The promoter, the multitasker, the researcher, the strategist, the communicator… The way a person interacts with others, faces challenges and adapts to different situations has a significant impact on both his or her work and business career. It is good, according to human resources experts, that every company has diverse personalities who can bring value to the organization, who enrich the work teams, the departments.

The work-personality binomial is bidirectional: “acting follows being (personality)” – we would say with Thomas Aquinas – our actions, both personal and work-related, respond to how we are; but we can also say that “being (personality) follows acting”; that is, as we act and decide in our circumstances, we are molded in one way or another, enhancing some traits or others, being able to change the environment and the surroundings.

Personality assessment

While there is no “perfect, ideal personality” for job success, certain characteristics may be favorable in certain roles or industries. For example, extroversion may be beneficial in jobs that require interacting with many people, while introversion may be valuable in roles that require a more analytical and focused approach. Adaptability, resilience, proactivity and the ability to work in a team are also valued traits in the workplace.

Personality can be measured by different tests or assessment tests. Job performance is difficult to predict, however, based on the OCEAN assessment model there are different analyses and scientific studies that show the relevance and impact of personality factors and facets:

  • Responsibility and Agreeableness are relevant to success in many jobs, from low to high levels of job complexity.
  • The “Competence” (or self-efficacy) facet, within the Responsibility factor, and job performance correlate significantly.

Personal and professional development

Knowing ourselves – and knowing our coworkers – allows us to discover in which areas we are particularly good, where to improve, where to mold ourselves better and thus be able to orient ourselves towards certain areas, projects or sectors; thus enabling both personal and professional growth.

Our personality, therefore, has an impact on our development, both positively and negatively. Personal and professional development is a continuous process that requires effort and dedication, so it is essential to work on strengthening social and emotional skills, such as leadership skills, emotional intelligence, resilience, among other competencies; achieving professional goals and enhancing one’s own human development.

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