Personality Traits and Professional Performance

Literature Review

Studies indicate that there is a strong relationship between emotional intelligence and occupational performance among individuals. Studies conducted among combat soldiers in the US indicated that high performers had more emotional intelligence than low performers, and thus were likely to be better performers at the workplace (Sala, Druskat and Mount, 16). An individual’s personality refers to how one behaves and reacts to situations.

Research has indicated that personalities are critical in defining workplace behaviour. Behaviour is a factor of the work environment, as well as an individual’s personality, skills and ability. Other factors that affect and individual behaviour include the individual’s perception, attributes, attitude, values, and ethics. People have different characteristics that include effectiveness, cognition, ability and self-motivation. At the same time, one can have an objective or a subjective view of a situation, and this affects one’s behaviour and performance (Nelson and Quick, 21).

A positive outcome at work and learning has been related to general mental ability, “smarty pants”. Individuals with general mental ability are likely to be victims of jealousy from coworkers through aggressive behaviours. The perception is that coworkers fear to be treated in a condescending way by the “smarty pants”. However, researchers agree that having a high general mental ability has a downside with regard to being a target at work.

Being a high cognitive is not a good reason for one to be targeted, but an individual’s personality plays a role in the outcome. It has also been indicated that some high cognitive individuals have good personalities hence are not targeted. When high-cognitive individuals have independent and dominant personalities, then victimisation is likely to occur. Intellectuals should have positive personality traits and intellectual skills (Goleman 9).


Personality has been considered as a determining factor in job performance. It is defined as the characteristics that influence one’s behaviour. One’s personality refers to those characteristics that differentiate one from the others. The origin of one’s personality is subject to discussion. Some think of it as hereditary, whereas others are opposed to this notion. The similarities in personalities are critical in the prediction of an individual’s performance potential. This is through the comparison of attributes. Personality specialists show that people should have steady and futuristic qualities.

These traits should be able to impact on the performance behaviour. It has also been mentioned that a personality is an effective tool in job performance prediction. Studies indicate that the groups that one interacts with and activities that one enjoys are related to one’s personality. It is known that organisational behaviour changes with time as influenced by culture. The same applies to an individual’s culture, which determines an individual’s ability to fit as a result of comfort with that culture. This point of view implies that an individual’s personality determines one’s output turnover in an organisation. Thus, employees’ personal traits can be related to the organisation’s output. In this case, the employees’ personalities should relate to the culture of the organisation (Nelson and Quick 24).

Personality Related Theories

Personality research has developed five key theories. This includes the following:

  1. Psychoanalytic theories.
  2. Humanistic theories.
  3. Biological theories.
  4. Behavioural, social and cognitive theories.
  5. Trait theories.

However, trait theories are widely accepted. The theory indicates that a person’s behaviour is explained with one’s traits. Nonetheless, there are still questions regarding the development of personality theory. One of the reasons for sceptics is that numerous elements that are critical to the personality are still being reviewed (Barrick, Mount and Judge 11). This high number of factors have made the theory unmanageable. In some circumstances, similar qualities have different definitions that mean virtually the same thing (Nelson and Quick 27).

Organisational researchers have agreed on understanding the personality trait using five factors. These factors include neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.

  1. Neuroticism: represents individuals who are emotionally insecure. Since they have considerable feelings in life, they are considered to be negatively related to good job performance.
  2. Extraversion: these are individuals that seek social acknowledgement, and like being in charge. They are referred to as extraverts. They have outgoing, confident and determined people.
  3. Openness to experience: these are those known to have strong good and bad feelings. They seem to be innovative since they are very optimistic about the learning experience.
  4. Conscientiousness: this represents individuals who are determined and responsible. Therefore, these individuals are thought to perform their jobs better.
  5. Agreeableness: defines individuals with characteristics such as gentle, helpful and self-sacrifice, and thus have a positive impact on job performance.

Work-Related Attitudes

Employees acquire job experience over time. This experience creates an attitude in an employee, and that affects how one handles problems. The professional experience is not determined by the duration of the experience but rather the job productivity. When employees accept the challenges that come with solving problems, the attitude exposes them to new problems in solving these problems experienced is gained. Researches state that an employee’s personality and professional traits impact job performance positively or negatively. Similarly, one’s attitude towards an organisation affects attendance and work performance (Nelson and Quick 31).

Effectiveness at Work

It is important to have in mind the true purpose of one’s job to assess performance effectiveness. Adoption of good attitude among employees has a positive attitude towards their jobs and their employers (Nelson and Quick 34).

Integrity: a person of integrity does not just work for respect, but takes responsibility in behaviour and set job standards. It is important for me to possess these personality traits as other doors will open up for me in the future. Developing a good attitude towards work improves the work environment and creates a good relationship amongst employees. A person of integrity is related to positive performance due to focus and commitment to the set goals.


An organised mind is important towards ensuring favourable work conditions. One should organise work in the morning or evening on each working day to ensure work efficiency. The organisation can be in terms of time, money, and resources (materials) used at work. An organised workplace enhances thinking and concentration. One should lay strategies on how to spend time, money, and other material resources effectively as these factors impact on productivity.

Social skills

Basic social skills are necessary for the workplace; thus, effective communication is necessary. Communication also includes listening skills. A good communicator should also be a good listener. Communication skills are developed with time for individuals who are interested in. The skills are likely to boost self-esteem and create good relations (Goleman 17).

Strategies for Effectiveness at Work

It is important to understand what is expected in terms of workload and appearance. Sometimes, people think that to be effective at work only requires professional or technical ability. The organisation is normally focusing on developing individual talents, which undermines other capabilities necessary for a good working environment. Some of the factors that affect the effectiveness at work include one’s personality, feelings, and communication skills that are necessary to interact with other people (Nelson and Quick 37).

Self-Esteem and Accepting Criticism

Self-esteem is usually derived from the self-image. This is one’s mental picture of himself or herself. It is founded on the relation with others and life experiences. This refers to how much one feels accepted or valued by others and how much individuals accept and value themselves. People with self-esteem feel good about themselves. They feel worthy and appreciate their skills, abilities, and success. On the other hand, those with poor self-esteem do not feel good about themselves and think they are good at nothing.

They rely on positive compliments from others to deal with the negative thoughts in their minds. Sometimes, individuals may have low self-esteem, especially during their teenage years. Adults also experience low self-esteem that can affect performance at work. The good thing is that the self-image changes over time, and thus individuals can improve their self-esteem.

Individuals should acknowledge themselves both in weakness and strength since everyone has weakness and strengths. Healthy self-esteem is an emotional competence that positively affects job performance in many ways. One can improve his/her self-esteem though practising self-compassion. People should recognise that they are humans. Thus, they should be ready to forgive and challenge the negative critics in their thoughts. I try to control my emotions when I am upset. I do not get carried away in the situation as these emotions are temporary. Control of emotions does not expose one to an embarrassing situation that eventually determines others’ perceptions. One can as well get help from a therapist, friends, and family (Nelson and Quick 38).


Self-motivation is not that simple. It requires an individual to set his or her goals for a challenge. People should hold on the belief that they possess the necessary abilities to achieve the established goals. Therefore, one should believe that, with hard work, the goals will be achieved. These four factors are important in building self-motivation:

  1. Self-confidence and self-efficacy: self-efficacy is one’s ability to achieve his/her goals. One needs a self-assurance and self-confidence to succeed and enjoy success, and build momentum from the success.
  2. Positive thinking of the present and the future: it is important to think positively about the future as positive thinking is an element in self-motivation. Having a good picture in mind is a drive to get it.
  3. Focus: focusing on setting goals is important. In this case, when one set goals, it acts as a promise to achieve the goals. Therefore, it is important to keep the promise.
  4. A motivating environment: creating a positive work environment is important since it is an external motivator.

Overcoming Obstacles

It is necessary for one to identify the obstacle and examine why it keeps one from accomplishing the set goals. Think of possible solutions and make a plan to deal with the obstacle as the planning will simplify the problem. After brainstorming about the possible solution without success, ask for help from others. Asking for help can be humiliating for some people. However, it should be noted that supervisors and senior workmate are there to help.

Time Management

Building a time management list is just as important as developing a budget. Therefore, time mismanagement is as dangerous as careless spending. This starts by avoiding boredom through the creation of a “to do” list. This forms a guide starting from the short term task too long term projects. Remember to go through the list occasionally so that any mess can be corrected. The time table review provides an opportunity to make changes where necessary. Time management experts emphasise the importance of time management as it provides an opportunity to relax, as well as deal with unexpected events.

Recognition of Diversity and Change

Most workplaces play host to diverse personalities and people from different backgrounds. It is important to appreciate diversity and be open to change. Individuals in an organisation work towards the same goal and working collectively towards it is what is important (Goleman 31).


Individual personality and attitude obviously impact work performance. Sometimes, this is due to the inability of people to find jobs of interest. With the current high unemployment rates, it is expected that many people would accept jobs for the sake of income. The development of the right attitude or personality can be achieved if both the individual and employer work together towards this goal. It is important to consider some of the few external factors that can improve employee’s attitude towards work to increase individual productivity.

Works Cited

Barrick, Murray R., Michael K. Mount, and Timothy A. Judge. “Personality and Performance at the beginning of the new Millennium.” International Journal of Selection and assessment. 9.1-2 (2001): 9–30. Print.

Goleman, Daniel. Working with Emotional Intelligence. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. Print.

Nelson, Debra L. and James C. Quick. Organizational behaviour: Science, the Real World, and You. Mason, Ohio: South-Western, 2012. Print.

Sala, Fabio, Vanessa, U. Druskat, and Gerald J. Mount. Linking Emotional Intelligence and Performance at Work: Current Research Evidence with Individuals and Groups. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.