How the Big Five Can Help You Utilize Your Employees’ Strengths
Let’s say that you have two employees—Olivia and Jaden. Olivia has the classic “extravert” personality. She’ll strike up a conversation with anyone and has no problem being in the spotlight. On the other hand, Jaden displays a more “introvert” personality. He is quieter and prefers to follow the leader rather than take charge as one. While different, both Jaden and Olivia are two of your best employees.
It’s beneficial and necessary to have employees with different personalities and strengths. For example, think of hockey. There are five positions—three offensive positions, two defensive positions, and one goalie. Imagine if the coach asked the goalie to play offense. The goalie would be uncomfortable in that position, probably not very good at it, and the team would suffer.
Chances are, you have a lot of different employees with different strengths. If each employee is working in a way that capitalizes on their strengths, you can have a very successful organization and team culture. If your team members aren’t given the opportunity to be themselves, a good employee could unintentionally bring down the whole company. One way as a manager to ensure success is to follow the guidelines of The Big Five personality traits.
With The Big Five, we go beyond “introverts” and “extroverts.” The Big Five are five personality variances that range between two extremes, with most people lying somewhere in the middle. If you are an attentive manager, you can probably point to where your employees exist on these lines.
The first trait of The Big Five is openness. Openness assesses how open-minded, imaginative, and creative a person is. Someone low in openness will be skeptical about change, but this could be beneficial as they aren’t the first one to hop on the train for a new idea, allowing you to take a step back and consider the concept entirely. Someone who is high in openness is likely to be more willing to try out new ideas and listen to new viewpoints. This employee could be great as a “change champion”—leading the charge to get others on board and excited about new tasks.
The conscientious trait assesses how thoughtful and goal-oriented a person is. A team member high in conscientiousness would be great if you need someone to complete a highly detail-oriented task on a strict deadline. Someone low in conscientiousness may be better at planning spontaneous projects and working on a looser deadline. It’s great to have both types of people on a team to balance each other out.
The agreeableness trait measures how easily an individual gets along with others. Ideally, your staff is composed of all team players, but how they reflect their willingness to work together may differ. Someone high in agreeableness would be great for participating in mentoring programs. Someone low in agreeableness likely needs more time and space to reflect on ideas but can add very thoughtful input.
The emotional range trait measures a person’s stability and self-confidence. Those who are higher in emotional range may get upset easier but are typically super empathetic and a great teammate and friend. Those who are lower in emotional range are better at spreading positive thinking and should be encouraged to do so.
The extraversion trait measures how energetic, friendly, and sociable someone is. A highly extraverted employee should be given opportunities to present at team meetings. An employee low in extraversion should be encouraged with 1:1 meetings where they may feel more comfortable.
You hired your team because you trusted that they could add value to your company. Just as you don’t buy clothes that are “one-size fits all,” make sure you don’t use a management style that is “one-size fits all.” If you are interested in really seeing where your team members lie on each of The Big Five traits, and getting personalized recommendations for them, consider Peoplelogic. Peoplelogic seamlessly leverages insights generated from an employee’s everyday data to see where they lie in each of the Big Five Traits. Want to be a more effective manager and get the most out of your employees? Get started for free.
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