THE BIG FIVE: A SIMPLER ALTERNATIVE FOR WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT TO PREDICT BEHAVIOR
The Big Five personality traits identify five broad dimensions of personality. Based on observation, not just theory, they are used in the workplace primarily to explain and predict behavior.
While not all researchers agree on the naming of the traits, a vast array of research over the past decades has substantiated the existence of these five factors:
E - Extroversion: This dimension includes characteristics such as excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and high amounts of emotional expressiveness. These people seek out stimulation and the company of other people.
A - Agreeableness: This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection and other “prosocial” behaviors. These people are compassionate and cooperative.
C - Conscientiousness: Common features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. Those high in conscientiousness tend to be organized and mindful of details, are dutiful and aim for achievement.
N - Neuroticism: Individuals high in this dimension tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, vulnerability and sadness. These people also tend toward anger and depression.
O – Openness (to experience): This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests. These people appreciate art and adventure. They are imaginative and curious.
The following grid will provide you with a quick overview of these personality traits:
The Value of the Big Five To You as a Manager
These personality types appear to be more easily identifiable in people than some of the other personality type models and may be more useful for that reason. Behavior predictability jumps out at you!
As with the other methods of personality typing and profiling, this is another tool you can use to put together the right mix of personality types when building a team, selecting the right people for a particular project, identifying team members who are ready for additional responsibility and/or promotion, choose a team member to deal directly with a difficult customer, etc.
Are the Big Five Measurable?
There is a website that offers a Big Five test and gives you a thorough analysis of the results. And it’s free so you can have everyone on your team take the test. The downside is they ask you some pesky demographic questions before you can submit the test.