Personal Life Vision Component #2: Personal Style

What is your Personal Style and How Does it Affect your Job Satisfaction?

Each individual develops speech patterns, body language, social devices, and personality traits that are unique to him or her. They influence how you interact with others and how others respond to you. They are your unique patterns for interacting with the world. Knowing your personal style will help you determine the kind of environment that will enable you to work with the greatest satisfaction and productivity.

You may be familiar with Carl Jung’s theory of personality and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that was created as a practical application of Jung’s model. You may have even already taken some version of the MBTI through your work or school.

Many people think that personality changes over time or depending on the environment and their experiences. However, your basic temperament or personality remains the same throughout your life. Knowing your personality type can help you understand your disposition and identify the most optimal work environment and roles for your personality type.

Personality Dimensions that Relate to Career

I’ll describe two personality dimensions that are particularly helpful in thinking about what you want to do with your life: introversion vs. extroversion, and generalist vs. specialist.

Introversion / Extroversion

You can think of introversion and extroversion in terms of energy. An introvert processes and gathers energy from internal thoughts, feelings, and reflections. An extrovert processes and gathers energy from external events, experiences, and interactions.

If an extrovert is asked to sit and work all day long alone in an office, he or she will feel profound boredom and even stress. In the same way, forcing introverts to interact all day long will lead to stress.

Extroverts are most productive when in work environments and roles where they can incorporate energizing periods of interaction with others. Meanwhile, introverts would do best to be in an environment where they have ample opportunity to process and work by themselves.

Generalist / Specialist

A generalist prefers a work environment in which one can function as a part of a group or team and achieve results by working with others. They typically prefer variety in their work responsibilities. Generalists have a clear sense of what is going on with other people. They are brilliant at understanding, motivating, and leading other people in organizations. They function supremely well in groups, teams, and systems.

A specialist focuses on their own specialized aptitudes and knowledge first. They have a foot-wide and mile-deep approach. The name ‘specialist’ refers to their long-observed tendency to find a particular area of knowledge and pursue it for their entire career.

Generalists would do well in managerial, executive, administrative, and business-oriented jobs, as well as other fields where working in a team is a premium. Meanwhile, specialists concentrate on their one area until they know more about it than anyone else and are able to speak on it from the point of view of an expert.

Understand your Personal Style to Find your Most Optimal Work Environment

In reality, we may be a good blend of both; even the most introverted person wants to be with people sometimes and the most outgoing extrovert enjoys being alone at times. But while you may feel that you are a mix of each, most people have a natural preference for one over the other. Or, it’s possible that you may be midrange on both. If you are a combination, you need to make sure you strike a good balance in this continuum. No personality dimension is absolute. But we have found that understanding your personality can be important when figuring out a compatible and productive work environment.

For those who are just starting out their career or going through a career transition, make sure to evaluate this factor as you look for a job. Stay tune, because next week’s topic is FAMILY OF ORIGIN.

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