Category: Agreeableness in the workplace

Consider, for a moment, two very different people:. Neville is a friendly, warm person who tends to cooperate with and trust others. He generally expects the best of people, and tends to be generous and helpful towards others. He tries to be modest about himself. Draco, on the other hand, is an aloof, rude person who tends to be competitive and suspicious of others.

He thinks modesty is overrated. How would personality psychology say these two differ? Agreeableness captures how interpersonally warm, trusting, modest, altruistic, cooperative, straightforward, sympathetic, and easygoing you are, and is one of the building blocks of personality.

So what does being agreeable mean for your work life and parenting styles?

How about your health outcomes and environmental behavior? Gender norms likely play a role here. Being disagreeable as a man pays off more than being disagreeable as a woman, perhaps because it fits our societal expectations of men being more driven and cutthroat than women.

Moreover, being agreeable as a man in the workplace goes against these social rules, leading the affable, tenderhearted men among us to be punished, salary-wise. On a related note, disagreeable folks are also more likely to have been fired in their lives, but spend no more time than agreeable people being unemployed, suggesting they somehow make up for their antagonistic interpersonal style when it comes to job-hunting perhaps spinning their qualities as useful workplace attributes.

Agreeable adolescents are also more likely to receive these parenting behaviors, suggesting that warmer, more easy-going children elicit warmer treatment. This trend is stable across developmental stages, as being antagonistic is associated with faster weight gain starting in adolescence and continuing through old age.

But why? Well, for some reason disagreeable people tend to continue eating after they feel satiated, and exhibit more prolonged bodily responses to stressors, both of which are associated with more weight gain. Cumulatively, these behaviors and trends may contribute to the cardiovascular problems that plague antagonistic folks. Greater agreeableness is linked to more pro-Earth values and conservation behaviors, both among individuals — more agreeable people are more likely to value protecting the environment and to report conserving electricity — and countries: more agreeable nations yes, you can analyze national personalities — more on this as the Olympics approach score higher in the Environmental Performance Index.

So now we know that more agreeable people make warmer parents, have healthier weight trends, and are more environmentally inclined. Well, besides making more money than your agreeable buddies, you may also find yourself becoming more agreeable as you get older…. For men and women alike, agreeableness — relatively low among surly teenagers — increases throughout early and middle adulthood, with a rapid increase in the late twenties, a steady increase throughout the thirties, and a slower increase in the forties.

agreeableness in the workplace

And yes, this increase corresponds directly to the years in which people typically bear and raise their children, putting folks into nurturing roles that encourage greater levels of warmth, altruism, and sympathy.

Think of it instead as being beneficial for — if not your pocketbook — your family, your health, and your planet. Longitudinal impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting. Judge, T.

Do nice guys—and gals—really finish last? The joint effects of sex and agreeableness on income. Milfont, T. Srivastava, S. Development of personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent change?

Sutin, A. Personality and obesity across the adult life span. Their blog presents cutting-edge psychology research that helps us better understand why people think, feel, and behave the way they do. You can check out their author bios here. The importance of being agreeable Psych Your Mind.

Psych Wednesdays. June 6, Working in the health insurance industry has given me the opportunity to meet hundreds of interesting people from all walks of life — customer service, doctors, patients, teachers, motivational speakers — you name it and they all have individual differences. Individual differences include personality, motivation, intelligence, and biodata PSU, Over the years I have become more self-aware of parts of my own personality that may be difficult for others to deal with around the time when I moved from New York out west while I was in high school.

My priorities, sense of humor, and interests were different than those around me in this new small town and I needed to do a lot of self-reflection to realize not everyone was like my friends back home. This brings me to one person in particular and my ongoing experiences with her. Since personalities can play a key role in how a work environment is perceived and run, they should be reviewed and monitored to see if adjustment is needed.

Lucy has been in the insurance industry for approximately 15 years and while does have a large amount of knowledge and background in the field, I feel as if her personality can sometimes get in her way. The Five-Factor Model of Personality reviews five traits of personality including conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extraversion. The first thing that comes to mind is her neuroticism. She thoroughly explained my stance, provided supporting documentation, consulted with their peers, and covered all the bases.

She fired back an email to my employee, copying my up-line and hers, belittling their opinion, experience, and the research on the topic. I was shocked!

agreeableness in the workplace

Lucy also would include any other professional disagreements and personal opinions about their style. Eventually this feedback got back to me and I knew I had to have it addressed.

Her abusive behavior to the employee was unethical because it was creating a hostile work environment and harming them. It seemed as though she was was using her power as a supervisor to try and scare them into agreeing, but also punish them if they did not.

I would also say the Lucy would fall low on the agreeableness and openness scales. Agreeableness is defined as being able to trust others, be accepting, and having the ability to conform Northouse, Lucy did not show these personality traits in this example and the countless others that happened after it.

While my employee would be more described as having the openness trait, Lucy also would not have this. Openness to experience is a way learn, grow, and adapt, however, Lucy refused to do any of these.

Lucy was stuck in the way the company did this 15 years ago and did not want to even talk about the possibility of changing how it handled a certain situation.

agreeableness in the workplace

Counterproductive workplace behaviors correlate higher with those who are less agreeable and are more neurotic Joy, Principe A Beneficence and Nonmaleficence comes into play here because of the harm she was doing to another employee, damaging their reputation, and overall badmouthing them just for disagreeing with her when it was done it a completely professional way.

This lead her to misuse her influence as a member of management. Lucy would have been considered as breaking code 3.

I thought Maintaining Competence was an interesting one to apply here because of how Lucy failed to see the situation from another side that was more relevant to the times and was stuck in an old policy that had been outdated. Her need to be right should have been outweighed by her desire to remain open and learn.

Thankfully, Lucy is no longer in a position of power and has since transferred to a separate department. In the workplace, it is crucial that one tries to work as a group or a team to create success for the company. American Psychological Association. Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Including amendments. Links to an external site. Joy, D. Exploring the relationships among leader personality, leader social intelligence, and follower distress Order No.

Northouse, P. Leadership: Theory and practice 7th ed. If extraversion is the factor most highly correlated to being a successful leader, why does it feel like neuroticism is?One of the characteristics I rated above average on, was Agreeableness.

So I ended up doing a little bit of text book reading on what Agreeableness is all about. A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. Turns out, in recent years, companies have increased emphasis on recruiting agreeable individuals. Yay for me! Except…other studies have shown that highly agreeable individuals tend not to excel in the workplace hierarchy too greatly.

In other words, highly agreeable people seldom make it to great corporate success. I believe that a contradiction does exist between what employers want in employees their agreeableness versus what apparently helps employees achieve best success their disagreeableness.

It seems as though agreeable employees are more sought-after due to their ability to provide a cooperative working environment possibly leading to better communication and productiveness amongst the workforce as a whole. However, their likely less competitive and less aggressive nature may make them a disadvantage as a provider of tangent idea options or force of negotiations. It seems to me that agreeable employees might create a comfortable environment for communication while a disagreeable employee might have the nerve to push unique ideas and stand behind them.

It seems as though both qualities would be useful in different levels of an organization. For example, it might be so that CEOs of a company are being chosen based on high agreeability because they may ease communication between managers and departments and play diplomatically within the company. Meanwhile managements of specific departments or organizations that must make deals and negotiations more than worry about PR might benefit more from having a disagreeable person in charge.

Agreeableness in the Big 5 Theory of Personality

Therefore, although it seems that employers tend to favor hiring agreeable employees, it would contradict the overall success of the company if that is the only employee they tend to hire or if the company should have a more aggressive approach in their business strategy. Agreeableness would probably be a good quality to possess in a job situation where communication and team work would make for the most healthy and productive outcomes. This can range anywhere from big corporation jobs which require constant communication between different departments and project groups to function to individual jobs such as a lab scientist who wishes to communicate her research to her peers to promote a more wholesome understanding of the research.

Agreeableness, however, may be harmful in situations where the job requires a dog-eat-dog attitude. Agreeableness may actually pose as counter-productivity in such a case. This may apply to any job ranging from a sales person working to earn the highest return on a seldom sold luxury item, to the head of a public service organization negotiating with a government leader over financial support for their agency.

Women are generally seen as being more communicative both in our society as well as cross-culturally. They are usually assumed to be more conversational and mediators in social conflicts than men are. It is possible that the overall agreeableness of women may be perceived to be higher that of men simply due to their more socially active nature. Therefore having a man display agreeableness is more likely to stand out amongst his peers and possibly feminize him at an unconscious level.

This would likely put him in more of jeopardy of assuming lower earnings like other women experience in the corporate world compared to equally qualified men. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.Agreeableness is the personal warmth, cooperation, trust and acceptance of others. On the surface, that seems like a uniformly good thing, however, some circumstances call for an assertive and competitive approach that the agreeable leader may find difficult or uncomfortable.

Agreeable employees can earn less and work harder, but there's an upside

Agreeableness generally translates into likeability. In general, people probably work harder for someone they like. Liking makes the workday more pleasant and companionable. Liked leaders often draw helping behaviors from the employees that can increase productivity. Agreeable leaders tend to seek and drive consensus within a team based culture.

agreeableness in the workplace

This can create a positive energy and sense of meaningful contribution in the workplace. These positive aspects of agreeableness have a strong contribution to make toward an inclusive culture. When leveraged at the right time, agreeableness contributes to harmony in the workplace. Agreeable leaders tend to avoid the disagreeable, such as corrective feedback. Agreeable leaders tend to tolerate bad behavior longer than is wise.

When this happens, workers begin to lose respect for the leader as the bad behavior most likely has a negative impact on them. When employees begin to see the agreeable leader as a "doormat," teamwork erodes. Agreeable leaders tend to avoid competition and sometimes fail to realize other people enjoy competition and see it in a positive light. People who thrive on achievement and competition may feel held back in a culture of consensus.

Use agreeableness and extraversion to build strong teams and strong relationships as a leader. Then in tough times when it's necessary to be directive to get the job done, personal loyalty already exists.

If agreeableness causes you stress when tough decisions need to be made, enlisting a trusted advisor can help with a path forward that will both address the situation and minimize the stress reaction. Return to Home Page. Leadership Tips Use agreeableness and extraversion to build strong teams and strong relationships as a leader.But there also is a double standard for women and, yes, a pay gap.

Judge, the Franklin D. The study shows a strong negative relationship between agreeableness and earnings for men. The more agreeable a man is, the less he will earn. For women, there is essentially no relationship at all. Regardless, they earn less than men. I tell negotiation students they need to ask for what they want to the point of ridiculousness.

So, I think women must present their requests in a non-threatening, gentle but firm sort of way. In essence, the way women communicate their demands matters more than it does for men. Specializing in personality, leadership, moods, emotions and career and life success, Judge has published articles in refereed journals, including 82 in top-tier journals.

The importance of being agreeable

Contact : Timothy Judge,tjudge nd. Do nice guys —and gals— really finish last? So, what recourse is there for women? Related Researchers identify process for regenerating neurons in the eye and brain. Zika infections drastically underreported during epidemic.If you're struggling to say "no" at work and instead feel the need to constantly assist colleagues you might be compromising your success.

As sad as it sounds, research shows that being agreeable can come at a cost in terms of career success. It can even mean earning less over the course of your career. Agreeableness is a personality trait characterised by compassion, friendliness, politeness and empathy.

People high in this personality trait can be described as "nice"; they tend to make good friends, are good listeners and good team players. One study found that, on average, agreeable people have lower income than "disagreeable" people.

They also tend to have lower occupational status for example, they receive fewer promotions. Being too agreeable can also be a problem for managers who often need to make hard decisions and deliver bad news in order to get things done. Agreeable people are likely to be attracted to "social" professions that are emotionally demanding for example nursing and counselling and have high rates of burnout.

These professions also typically receive less pay than other professions classified as "investigative", like scientists and surgeons, and "enterprising", like entrepreneurs and managers.

There seem to be two reasons for why agreeable people can suffer career setbacks. According to this studymore agreeable people might sacrifice their own success in the process of pleasing others.

This study also suggests that agreeable people are less likely to aggressively negotiate their wage and more likely to be passive in conflict situations. People who are low in agreeableness, on the other hand, are more self-focused and competitive. They don't let their compassion for others get in the way of their own goals.

Individuals high in these traits, especially narcissism, actively seek out prestige, target high level jobs and make their accomplishments known to those around them. Meanwhile, agreeable people tend to be modest and less boastful about their achievements. Although agreeableness is problematic for extrinsic aspects of career success, being agreeable does have benefits in the workplace. For example, agreeable people are less likely to be victims of bullying.

They also tend to perform well in jobs requiring interpersonal interactions such as customer service, and generally do well in teams. People high in agreeableness also make likeable co-workers and have a set of characteristics likely to contribute to positive organisational culture. Although agreeable people are attracted to emotionally demanding professions, they tend be more resilient than others in these professions. This is because agreeable workers tend to form positive relationships with colleagues and patients, which possibly buffers the inherent challenges to these jobs.

It should be noted that most studies on agreeableness and career success reported weak to moderate relationships. This means that while on average agreeable people are at a disadvantage, there are many agreeable workers who have very successful careers.

Agreeableness can actually enhance career success when combined with certain other traits.Agreeableness is one of the five basic elements, or traits, of personality according to the "Big Five" theory of personality. It's one of the five traits that make up the Big Five personality inventory— and while the inventory is not without its critics, it's often held up as the gold standard of personality measure.

The other four traits include:. Agreeableness tends to increase gradually until adulthood. Even then, though, some tweens will be more agreeable than others when dealing with the challenges in their environment. A person who has strong leanings toward being agreeable is very people-oriented. He or she will have excellent social skills, enjoy group interactions, shows affection easily, and find it easy to collaborate with others.

Those people who score low for this trait generally find it difficult to interact well with others, avoid socializing in groups, tend to distrust others, and have poor social skills. Most people fall somewhere between the two extremes. Of course, it is always a plus to have the capacity to collaborate, socialize, and build positive relationships with others.

Agreeableness, however, can have its drawbacks. Agreeable people, for example, may find it very difficult to work alone, analyze the validity of arguments, make difficult decisions, or give bad news. As a result, a low level of agreeableness may make it easier to succeed in some fields. The degree to which a person presents particular traits does depend upon innate personality, but it also depends a great deal upon circumstances.

Even the most agreeable person may become less agreeable when faced with direct competition for critical resources or important opportunities. On the other hand, research suggests that it is possible to increase agreeableness through:. It may not be surprising that very young children are, in general, more self-centered and less agreeable than adults. It may be that adults' experience with the ups and downs of life make them more empathetic to others' pain. A third explanation may be that we learn, over time, that most people are more likely to accede to our requests if we first build a trusting relationship.

Get diet and wellness tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy.


thoughts on “Agreeableness in the workplace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *