This Major Personality Trait Predicts Success at Work
The secret to finding a job, staying employed and being happy at work? It’s kind of boring.
Show up on time, be organized, have a plan A and if that fails, have a plan B ready to go.
Though we often attribute success to extraversion, genius, creativity or that born-with-it X-factor, it’s the conscientious keeners who are consistently successful at work, no matter what type of work they do.
Conscientiousness is one of the ‘Big Five’ personality traits many psychologists agree make up the recipe for people’s personalities – openness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism are the remaining four. Conscientious people are organized, goal-oriented and thoughtful. They care about the details.
While different traits can indicate success in different types of careers (extraverted sales people are common, for example), conscientiousness is a success indicator that cuts across professions.
According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, “there are significant differences between blue-collar and white-collar workers for all the traits except for conscientiousness.”
The study also found conscientious people are more likely to be offered and hold down a job. They’re also likely to have lower job search costs because they’re more organized and efficient. And conscientious females are more likely to make more money.
Need convincing? Check out these recent books that aim to prove putting in time and effort can make a genius of us all:
For the millennial: Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? reminds 20-somethings that it takes hard work to get to the top. Says Kaling: “People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake…confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.”
For the executive: In How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery, Kevin Ashton aims to take down the creative genius myth using examples (from Mozart to Apple) to prove no one is immune to failure and hard work when it comes to innovation.
For the creative: Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, digs deep into creativity. Gilbert reminds readers that while you don’t need to suffer to be creative, you do need to work hard and persist at your craft.