How to use your personality to your benefit and get ahead in your career?

Are you just starting out in your career or are you looking for a way to take your career to the next level? A good way to achieve this is to have a better understanding of yourself and know what you can bring to the table. According to the commonly used personality type test Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – by finding out your personality type, you will be more equipped to navigate through your career as you’re more aware of how you spend your energy throughout the day, how you process information, how you interact with people, how you make decisions and how you organise your time.


How to find out more about your personality type

According to the MBTI test, one’s personality is based on the following four dimensions, which will be explained in further detail below:

  • Extraversion v/s introversion
  • Sensing v/s intuition
  • Thinking v/s feeling
  • Judging v/s perceiving


1.     Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Contrary to popular belief, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is not dependent on one’s level of shyness or friendliness. It’s rather how one replenishes their energy levels.

An extrovert will typically draw their energy by socialising and surrounding themselves with a large group of people – as opposed to an introvert who needs more alone time to be able to recharge. Having this understanding of how you draw your energy can give you a head-start as it will help you go for the role that is the best fit for your personality. For example, extroverts will naturally thrive in roles that necessitate high levels of human interaction such as sales, event planning and public speaking. Introverts on the other hand will naturally gravitate towards more research-based roles, advisory positions and strategic roles. Notwithstanding this, some introverts excel in positions that require more socialising. However, they will require more alone time afterwards to replenish their energy or they could run the risk of burnout. Likewise for extroverts, they will require more frequent breaks when undertaking a more analytical role as they could likely get restless in a desk job.

Tips if you are an extrovert: To get ahead as an extrovert, partake in networking events and explore new opportunities when meeting new people. Your natural inclination for human interaction will allow you to build new relationships which can be beneficial for your career.

Tips if you are an introvert: Introverts do amazingly well in autonomous projects such as detailed reporting or number-crunching tasks. Your natural strengths lie in written communication – or a role that lets you provide a well-rounded perspective of the situation. However, introverts should try not to over-indulge in their ability to work independently as they may come across as being disengaged in the workforce. If you are an introvert and would like to work around this, what you can do is increase your visibility by simply engaging in conversations with your peers or participating in after-work events – just so your colleagues know that you care and are part of the team.


2.     Do you act on your sensing or intuitive instincts?

The second dimension of the MBTI test is to find out how you process information; whether you use sensing personality traits – relying on factual details, a logical thought process and your surroundings; or intuitive personality traits – using more abstract cues to better understand the situation.

People who express more intuitive traits are typically more introspective and creative and can therefore provide their views from a different angle. For this reason, intuitive people do exceptionally well in a strategic role that requires brainstorming. In comparison, if you express more sensing traits, you will naturally be more inclined towards a detail-oriented role as you tend to value logic and common sense.


3.     Is your decision-making rational or driven by your feelings?

The way that you make a decision depends on whether you are influenced by your objective logic or subjective feeling. People who problem-solve based on logic tend to be more of a thinker whereas those who show more empathy and emotions tend to be feelers. Within a workplace context, thinkers adopt a different leadership approach which highlights their ability to think clearly and focus on making the best decision for the business. They are able to compartmentalise and not let emotions or stress dictate their thought process. Thinkers are also known for having a meritocratic leadership approach as they are able to take a neutral position. On the other hand, if your decisions are mainly driven by your feelings, principles and values; you will be naturally inclined towards a mediator role. Feelers usually have great interpersonal skills and can benefit from building meaningful relationships with a range of different people within the team.


4.     Do you judge or perceive the world around you?

Last but not least, the judging/perceiving dimension indicates how you interact with the outside world. If your working style is firmly grounded in rules and structure, you are likely to possess a higher percentage of judging traits. On the other hand, if you enjoy a more flexible way of working and are more malleable at work, you are more likely to have perceptive traits. Having perceptive traits allows you to adapt to change much more easily and have readily transferable skills. You can leverage off this by keeping an open mind and taking the lead on a change initiative within your workplace.


How can you use your personality to your advantage?

Once you know more about your personality traits, you will understand what situations will allow you to perform your best. For example, if you know you are more of an introvert, take more time to practise ahead of a presentation and anticipate potential questions from the audience so you would not be caught off-guard. In addition, knowing what works best for you can give you the opportunity to bring along new ideas on how you can manage your work habits, resolve conflict at work and deal with stress.

By having an understanding of the various traits, you will also be able to empathise with what other people in your team may be experiencing through their reactions and perceptions. In doing so, you will be able to better respond to the needs of your team, and in turn build stronger relationships with your colleagues. Having this mutual understanding and awareness about different personalities and leadership styles can help you optimise each other’s strengths.


What is your personality type?

Have you done your personality test yet? Let us know in the comment section below and how this knowledge has helped you progress in your career.

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