You meet so many different types of people and personalities in the workplace, right? We’ve all worked with a terrible manager before, or an irksome colleague who really seems to get on our nerves with everything they do. There are many personality traits that are lauded in the workplace as being broadly “positive” – hardworking, assertive, creative and professional people often seem to get ahead and might even rise to upper management and beyond.
But what of those “negatively” perceived personality traits that we’re all told to work on to self-improve? Could some of these traits actually benefit you in the workplace, despite their negative connotations?
What personality traits are good for your career?
Canadian journalist Graydon Carter said, “Arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence. Not a pretty cocktail of personality traits in the best of situations. Not a pretty cocktail in an office-mate and not a pretty cocktail in a head of state. In fact, in a leader, it’s a lethal cocktail.” No one wants to spend time with someone they find overly arrogant but is just a little bit of arrogance helpful to your career?
#1: Bossiness and assertiveness can be helpful for progressing your career
Let’s face it, every workplace has its share of bossy people and in many cases, these people might in fact work in upper management. “Being bossy” is normally not seen as a positive thing but there are loads of studies online that indicate that a little bit of assertiveness applied in the right way can be very helpful to your career.
“Being bossy is not the same as being a leader. A leader has a clear direction. They have the solutions and they have the people skills to delegate and to ensure everyone works as a team,” writes Martin Mercer in The Huffington Post. “Telling someone what to do is easy, gaining respect and loyalty is not. Please don’t confuse being bossy with leaderships skills.
Using assertiveness the correct way can be helpful in communicating your needs and ideas, and making sure you’re work gets the attention it deserves. Just ensure you strike the right note and you know when to back off. Trade bossiness for assertiveness and see your career reach new heights.
#2: Being a worrier can be a sign of greater intelligence
Again, no one likes the feeling of being worried and chronic worry can lead to stress and even medical issues, such as insomnia and weight gain. However, there are many reported benefits to being a worrier, per scientific studies.
According to a study called Intelligence and emotional disorders: Is the worrying and ruminating mind a more intelligent mind? worriers are often quite intelligent. A US-based research crew looked at about 130 undergraduate students and found “a strong correlation between worrying and intelligence.”
The study showed that when someone displayed high amounts of verbal intelligence, they were also more pre-disposed to think future events through in great detail. Neurologist Dr Andrew Gordon points out that “It makes sense that highly intelligent people may worry more because they are able to digest more information and see multiple sides of a particular issue.”
#3: People that fidget might have lower stress levels in the long term
Clicking pens, jiggling their legs, playing with their hair or doodling in their notebook – people that fidget at work can drive other people crazy but did you know there is a scientific benefit to being a fidgeter?
According to Setuhealthcare.com, “Studies have shown that the amount of time we spend sitting down is associated with reduced lifespan and a higher incidence of heart disease and stroke… But breaking up your ‘sitting time’ throughout the day with simple activities like walking or stretching your legs could counteract the harmful effects of (sitting down) and lead to better overall health.”
In fact, a recent study published on the long-term effects of sitting down showed that sitting down was associated with many different negative health factors, including chance of early death. So, the next time you see someone fidget near you, making you want to scream, just remember that it’s actually a positive personality trait that may assist with workplace stress. Grab your pen and start clicking!
#4: Micromanagement can have workplace benefits
Do you have a hands-on manager or one who is hands-off? Micromanagement “refers to inappropriately close observation and control of a subordinate’s work by a manager (referring) to overemphasis on the minute details of employees’ work at the expense of the bigger picture,” according to EMS World.
The author of the piece admits that he is indeed a micromanager but insists that this really just makes him more available to his staff when they need him. “I am ok with it (being a micromanager),” says Raphael M. Barishansky, “I consider myself a positive micromanager. Positive micromanagement focuses on what people want and need from managers rather than what managers must do to feel in charge.”
In fact, there are many well-known, celebrated micromanagers, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. “When you have deep passion for your business, your job, you also have a responsibility to be involved with how your vision is executed. You will likely step on some toes along the way,” explains the BBC.
Being a micromanager at the right times, even if it’s just with your own work, might have its benefits.
#5: People who are shy might make better decisions than their bold counterparts
Being shy isn’t a great trait to progress your career, right? Wrong! There are many benefits to being introverted, both in your private life and within your career.
As well as being more approachable than your bolder colleagues, if you are shy “or socially anxious” you might typically be more of a problem-solver or thinker too. “This trait (shyness) can be helpful when it comes to many life decisions,” explains VeryWell.com. “Thinking carefully and planning before taking action are important for many of life’s hurdles including planning for the unexpected, avoiding unnecessary risk, and setting long-term goals.”
Other reports suggest that people who are shy might be seen as more approachable by their peers and might be regarded as more trustworthy too – both character traits that will allow you to progress at work and further your career. While some might consider shyness to be a negative personality trait, when it comes to business, it might be a real selling point.