The 6 personality traits that can define your professional success

The 6 personality traits that can define your professional success


The combination of six personality traits can indicate your potential at work.

Are you curious, meticulous and competitive? Do you also have more mysterious qualities such as “high adaptability”, “acceptance of ambiguity and” tolerance to risk “?

If so, congratulations! According to new research in psychology, these six characteristics make up a “high potential” personality that will take you far in life.

The truth, of course, has some more nuances. It turns out that those same characteristics, in excess, can hinder your performance and, therefore, the true secret of success may lie in knowing exactly where you fall within each spectrum and how to get the most out of your strengths and manage your weaknesses.

This new approach promises to be an important step in the efforts to understand the complex form as our personality affects our working life.

In the past, attempts to capture our personality at work have had questionable results.

Starting from the idea that recent advances in psychology could yield better results, psychologists Ian MacRae and Adrian Furham, researchers at University College London, have identified six traits that are consistently linked to job successand that they now have combined in the High Potential Trait Inventory (HPTI).

MacRae points out that each feature can also have its drawbacks and excesses, which means that there is an optimal value for each one.

It emphasizes that the relative importance of each trait is determined by the type of work the person does, so the optimal measure must be adapted to those particular conditions.

Taking this into account, BBC Mundo tells you what those six characteristics of your personality are that can lead you to job success.

1. Meticulousness

Meticulous people make sure they follow their plans to the letter.

They are good at controlling their impulses and remembering the wisdom of their decisions for the long term. After the IQ, this feature is considered one of the best indicators of the results that the person will achieve in their life, such as success in studies.

Meticulousness is a useful feature for strategic planning tasks.
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Image caption Meticulousness is a useful feature for strategic planning tasks.

In the work environment, attention to detail is essential for good strategic planning but in excess you can become too rigid and inflexible.

2.- Adaptation capacity

Everyone faces situations that cause anxiety but who have great capacity d and adaptation can work more easily under pressure without allowing adversely affecting their behavior and decisions.

People who do not have a good dose of this trait seem to have a poor performance at work but its effects can be mitigated with an appropriate mentality.

Several studies indicate that being able to refocus a stressful situation as a potential source of growth rather than as a threat to our well-being can help people recover from these experiences in a faster and more productive way.

3.- Acceptance of ambiguity

Are you one of the people who prefer that their tasks are predictable and well defined or do you enjoy the unknown?

The ability to handle situations of uncertainty allows you to react to changes more easily.
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Image caption The ability to handle situations of uncertainty allows you to react to changes more easily.

People with high tolerance for uncertainty can incorporate many points of view before making a decision, which means they are less dogmatic and have more nuanced opinions .

“The little tolerance for ambiguity can be considered as a kind of dictatorial characteristic, they try to synthesize complex messages in a single point, which can be a typical feature of destructive leadership,” says MacRae.

Someone who can accept ambiguity will have the facility to react to changes, such as a changing economic scenario or the appearance of new technologies, and to face complex problems.

A low ability to accept ambiguity is not always a negative thing. In some cases, such as those related to laws and regulations, it may be better to use an orderly approach that allows all the details to be resolved in the process.

4.- Curiosity

Compared to other mental traits, curiosity has somehow received little attention from psychologists.

Curiosity helps you learn more easily and increases your overall satisfaction with work.
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Image caption Curiosity helps you learn more easily and increases your overall satisfaction with work.

However, recent research indicates that an interest inherent in new ideas brings many advantages to the workplace: it can mean that you are more creative and flexible in the procedures you use, it helps you learn more easily and increases your overall satisfaction with work .

An excess of curiosity, however, can also lead you to have a “butterfly mind”, flying from one project to another without finishing executing them.

5.- Risk tolerance

Would you avoid a potentially unpleasant confrontation or would you prefer to go ahead with it knowing that the discomfort in the short term will resolve the situation and bring long-term benefits?

The ability to cope with difficult situations is critical for managerial positionswhere you need to make decisions to favor the general good, even when you have to face strong opposition.

6.- Competitiveness

There is a fine line between fighting to achieve personal success and entering an unhealthy situation of jealousy for the advancement of others.

At its best, competitiveness can be a powerful motivation that leads you to make the extra effort necessary to reach a goal. Its worst face, however, can lead to the breaking of the work team .

The excess of competitiveness can lead to the breakdown of work teams.
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Image caption Excess competitiveness can lead to breakdown of work teams.

Together, these six traits contain most of what is known so far about the many attributes that influence work performance, especially for those who have their sights set on leadership positions.

Almost all people will fall outside the optimal range of some of these traits but that does not have to be a problem if we have co-workers who can restrain us.

MacRae has already validated the HTPI in several sectors, monitoring the performance of executives of multinational companies for several years.

Although research is still under development, an academic article published last year showed that these traits can predict subjective and objective measures of success .

In one analysis, participants ‘responses accounted for around 25% of the variation in participants’ income.

In this study, competitiveness and acceptance of ambiguity turned out to be the strongest indicators of economic income that each person received, while meticulousness seemed to be the trait that best predicted levels of subjective satisfaction.

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