Same at Work?
Dan Maxwell
September 12, 2018

Who you are at home, doesn’t change at work.

If personality is “the face you put on” when you step into the workplace, we might be considered someone different every day. As author Lisa Evans points out, making adjustments to our personality is not unusual. Fast Company

But if personality is something deeper, influenced by environment and genetics (search: “personality environment or genetic” for evidence), then we must deal with these 3 questions:

1. How can we change our personalities?

Answer: with difficulty …. Our brains may be “elastic”, but how long does it take to stretch ourselves into a new shape, and how long will those changes last?

Professor of psychology, David Buss affirms personality traits remain consistent. The Independent.

You may sound, repond or act differently, but your personality doesn’t change.

2. Why would we want to change our personality?

If you take your personality with you everywhere you go – including to work, what’s the point of trying to be someone different?

Sure, there is some advantage to “acting out of character” when we want to accomplish a specific goal e.g. being more sociable to influence someone’s decision.

However, far greater benefits lie in being ourselves. Take for example, the data entry clerk and Buckingham’s “First Break All the Rules.” Applying with ability above the national average, this clerk achieved a level of improvement 6 times her original record by focusing on her strengths.

3. What cost are we willing to pay trying to be someone different?

Always trying to be what we’re not, can cause problems.

As psychologist Andrea Liner puts it: “It’s exhausting to feel like you’re acting all the time, and it can be hard to keep it up forever” – Should you Hide Your Personality At Work? Fast Company

Working in this area, I have heard a few stories about the cost of people turning themselves inside out every day. One person lost 50 pounds; another was on medication; someone admitted that when they got home they were drained.

You may put on a different “persona”, but you are the same person.

Regardless of where we land on this topic, here’s the practical challenge for Managers, HR professionals and Recruiters ….

Yes, we expect people to put on their best behaviour during an interview. But which “personality” are they showing?

Knowing their real personality will make a difference in performance and satisfaction – theirs and yours!