Personality and its various aspects


Shilpi Jain
Faculty - OB/HRM
ICFAI National College

Personality is the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others. The total personality or 'psyche' as it is called by Jung consists of a number of differentiated but interacting systems. The self is the mid-point of personality, around which all of the other systems are constellated. It holds these systems together and provides the personality unity, equilibrium and stability. The self is life's goal, a goal that people constantly strive for but rarely reach.

Personality concerns characteristics inside people that explain why they do what they do. The conventional wisdom of the HR community for perhaps 20 years is that personality is essentially irrelevant for understanding occupational performance, and that what really matters are the reward structures present in the corporate culture where people work.

Over the past few years, personality is coming back in organizational psychology. One is "personality psychology lite" and has all the intellectual power of elevator music, & superficial knowledge of another person's personality is useful for understanding how to manage and work with that person. The second sign of the return of personality is the "Emotional Intelligence". Third, within academic I/O psychology and it is accepted that components of the personality in academic performance is predicted by measures of ability. The personality is an intellectual achievement. The most important thing about people is that they always live in groups and that every group has a status hierarchy. The big problems in life concern getting along with other people while attaining some status in one's community-i.e., getting along and getting ahead.

It can be elaborated through three things-

1. People really want three things: (a) acceptance, respect, and approval; (b) status and the control of resources; (c) predictability.  There are two types of manager one who motivate and one who demotivate.A. A manager de-motivates their subordinates by treating their staff with disrespect. They micromanage their staff and take away their sense of control and autonomy. And they don't communicate or provide feedback. For improving the behavior and the personality of the manager, they have to follow the three things what people really want.

2. Personality means: Personality should be defined from two perspectives. First, there is personality from the inside, which is called identity. This is the person you think you are and it is best defined by your hopes, dreams, aspirations, goals, and intentions-i.e., values. Second, there is personality from the outside, which is called reputation. This is the person others think you are and is best defined by the Five-Factor Model-i.e., in terms of self-confidence, sociability, integrity, charm, and creativity, or their opposites. There are often important disparities between a person's identity and his/her reputation, and the size of the disparity is related to career success.

3. Measure personality: It is important first to stipulate the agenda for personality assessment. The agenda concerns forecasting individual differences in a person's potential for getting along and getting ahead. Next, which aspect of personality we want to measure. If we want to assess personality from the inside-identity-then we need a measure of values. And the optimal use of such an assessment is to evaluate how well a person will fit with the culture of an organization, as opposed to trying to predict occupational performance. And finally, if we want to assess personality form the outside-reputation-then we should use observer ratings (e.g., a 360 feedback instrument). The optimal use of assessments of reputation is to forecast occupational performance, as opposed to trying to predict person/culture fit. If the foregoing distinctions are appropriately observed, personality and personality assessment will be indispensable tools for making decisions about people in organizations. There are four fundamental psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting. Thinking is ideational and intellectual. Feeling is the evaluation function; it is the value of things, whether positive or negative, with reference to the subject. The feeling function gives man his subjective experiences of pleasure and pain, of anger, fear, sorrow, joy and love. Sensing is the perceptual or reality function. It yields concrete facts or representations of the world. Intuition is perception by way of unconscious processes and subliminal contents. The intuitive man goes beyond facts, feelings and ideas in his search for the essence of reality. Personality and personality assessment will be indispensable tools for making decisions about people in organizations.


The professional (practitioner) task is a sensitive one that requires his or her personality to be compatible with the organization's persona.

An organization's persona generally determined by or through its chief executive officer, has a profound effect on its people. Some CEOs have authoritarian management styles. Others concentrate on exercising their own skills and are less concerned with using the power of their position. Still others are overly concerned with their own image. They bend over backward not to offend anyone. They have an urgent need to be liked. The ideal style is a blending of the three types (and there are others).The executive must be aware of these organizational personality factors and be willing to adjust to them. There must be a good "fit" between the practitioner and the organization which goes far beyond professional qualifications. All successful practitioners take pride in their skills, background and achievements, but few are aware of the impact of their personalities on their careers. The primary reason public relations people are not getting promoted or are losing their jobs these days is not the economy or their incompetence, but their personalities. The Practitioner needs the ability to persuade without offending. Practitioners who are cheerful, diplomatic, positive, good listeners and who don't take themselves too seriously are usually very effective in reconciling opposing groups. Without being coerced or scuttled in the process. People tend to support the views of those they like.

Winning traits

1. Response to tension.

Most successful executive are intense people although it may not always be evident even to them. Often they are at their best under fire and, rather than solving problems by abstract analysis will reach practical solutions by direct action.

2. Individual initiative.

The successful executive will usually take immediate action before a situation becomes blown out of proportion. He or she usually will not wait for instructions, but take the initiative to solve the problem: seeks to anticipate and adjust to change: leads the public relations effort.

3. Curiosity and Learning.

The professional (executive) should have an inquiring mind, should want to learn everything possible about the product, service, client or organization, and the competition. The executive must try a number of approaches in order to solve a problem, some of which might not work. If and when they don't work the professional does not regard them as personal blunders, but as learning opportunities. Problems are solved by persistence and intelligence. He or she never stops learning.

4. Energy, drive, and Ambition.

The successful executive has energy, drive and ambition. He or she works rapidly and is not afraid to take a calculated risk. This is a very important element in the personality of executives. Most of the top practitioners are stimulated by the problems to be solved and are willing to work the hours it takes to reach their goals.

5. Objective thinking

Executives must be as objective and factual as possible and above all excellent in judgment. They must know what to do and say, and when. They must have a sense of timing. They must have a capacity for intense concentration and attention to intricate detail and keen powers of observation. This is especially critical in counseling.

6. Flexible attitude.

It is crucial that executives have the ability to see things from someone else's viewpoint. eg.. Executive management's, a publication editor's or a hostile audience's.

7. Service to others.

Most successful executives have a natural desire to help people. Pleasure in the success of others is a major motivation for the service behavior.

8. Friendliness.

The professional (executive) are perceived as likable, friendly and genuinely interested in others, rarely as resentful, bitter, or hostile. They develop and maintain a wide range of personal contacts.

9. Versatility.

The successful executive is often able to perform well in a variety of areas because he or she has a venturesome spirit and a lively interest in the world at large. The best practitioners are generalists with a specialty. The desire to learn and the ability to focus on varied subjects helps them adjust rapidly to new tasks and multiple client problems and needs.

10. Lack of self-conscience.

Successful executives much less self conscience than other executives, perhaps because they often function as catalysts. Although some practioners have large egos, they often are self-effacing. Functioning in the background while projecting others into the limelight. This trait is indigenous to the professional executive.

Personality can be changed, by working to improve shortcomings and acquiring a better understanding of human nature, practitioners are better adjusted, more influential, and more effective. The process can be a critical factor in success, particularly in the management ranks. For a professional the optimal choice for a job is not the number of traits possessed, but the pattern of these traits within the personality. Qualifications are essential, but the situations in which the professional will be placed and the personality of the executive to whom he or she will report are equally important considerations. Personality is, indeed, an important factor in an executive search for the organization.

Shilpi Jain
Faculty - OB/HRM
ICFAI National College

Source: E-mail May 20, 2006


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