Personality - why is it so important for a successful and satisfied career.

Whether someone is planning their future career or is thinking of a career change I always suggest that we look at the client’s personality. Our personalities are formed through a combination of our genetic inheritance and experiences as we have developed (through our families and wider society).

There was a time not too long ago where research suggested that personality didn’t affect success in the workplace. Luckily more sophisticated statistical methods are now showing that yes certain personality traits are related to success in the workplace. As a Psychologist helping individuals optimize their working lives I am interested in them as individuals, what are their defining traits and their experience of the working world so far.

I often see clients who have been struggling in certain careers because of a mismatch between one or several traits and the environment they have been in. The important bit to understand is that one trait that has potentially been a weakness in one environment is likely to be a strength in another! This can be a really important discovery for the client – how we feel about ourselves is often affected by how well we are getting on at work and if we are struggling there can be a tendency to blame ourselves. However, it’s likely that we are just in the wrong environment for us. Whether its because you are extremely extraverted and you are not in an environment where there is enough stimulation for you, or you are quite sensitive and you are being asked to make quick decisions under pressure, understanding what these traits are and what is causing the current problem can be a source of great relief. I work with clients to understand their natural strengths and to help them find environments where they are best suited to.

So how do you go about looking at your personality? I would always suggest that you work with someone who has the British Psychological Society Level B in Occupational Testing. Be wary of any free psychometrics on the internet – the production of accurate instruments is highly scientific and take years.

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