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General Beliefs and Re- Discovering Man

Rediscovering Man: A Research Study finds that What is Seen is not Always True 

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management Professor Corinne Bendersky who conducted Two experiments says, on based on the findings of experiments, that “Our intuition about the kind of people who make good teammates, which are often based on their personalities, are actually wrong”. The study further reveals that “highly neurotic people, while initially not inspiring confidence, often defy expectations among teammates. On the flip side, the extroverts in the office, usually seen as strong leaders among peers, tend to disappoint”.

In research, published in the “Academy of Management Journal” this month, Corinne Bendersky “compared MBA team members’ ratings of each other before and after weeks of collaboration”.

The second study was similar, but researchers gauged perceptions by providing subjects with personality profiles of made-up colleagues.

The findings again were surprising, as due to being provided with ‘Personality Profiles’ of the Colleagues prior to asking them to work together, it was seen that “at start participants had bad impressions of their neurotic colleagues, predicting they would have low contribution and low status within the group” on the other hand “those with extroverted personalities were given high status ratings by others. Collaborators thought that their enthusiasm and energy was going to be a boon for the team, and that they would be positive contributors”.

This probably can be attributed to individuals capability of creating an artificial and biased perception about other individuals without even attempting to learn issues like ‘how such individuals react’ and ‘ the way they respond to numerous variables that come to play teams’ work climate.

A very common perception that prevails in society and also with co – workers about neurotic people or neurotic employees is that their volatility and negativity is going to make them a drag on the team. As per research Bendersky and her co-researcher, Neha Shah state that “What people don’t appreciate is that an aspect of that ‘neurotic personality is really an anxiety of not wanting to disappoint our peers and our colleagues’. Neurotics can actually be motivated to work really hard especially in collaborative situations”. It further states that extroverts tend to be less receptive to other people’s input, which makes them more difficult to work with. The studies being referred here found that contributions from extroverts were less impressive than expected.

Study further states that “the core of the extrovert’s personality really wants to be the center of attention”. Thus they give or say they are found doing a lot of self-presentation that is well received and in majority cases it creates a positive first impression. It is their ambition/ drive to be the center of attention which actually turns fairly disruptive in collaborative situations.”

Adrian Furnham, a psychology professor at the University College London opines that regardless of the finding that neurotics work better in teams, they are still considered to be at a disadvantage in the workplace overall. Argument offered by Furnham to support the opinion given is that “neurotics tend to be unstable, they’re insecure, they worry a lot, they’re moody — which are really difficult traits to deal with. He believes that while neuroticism makes people more sensitive to the reactions of other people, “by and large it’s not good news. High neuroticism is not associated with success in the workplace.”

Whereas, when it comes to opine on other part of the study that extrovert actually turn fairly disruptive in collaborative situations, Adrian Furnham seems to be in agreement with the finding to some degree. He agrees that he does not think highly extroverted people make for the best employees either. He has a very different opinion and that is “rather moderate outgoingness makes individual ideal for teamwork”.

Again it is worth mentioning that people who are high on the neuroticism scale need not be disappointed; what they actually need is to find the right job. As per Spencer Lord, a human resources specialist with the Britain-based firm Organic HR, says highly neurotic people are often strong in roles that require attention to detail, like positions in finance or compliance.

He says so as he finds that “neurotic people are more predisposed to worry about the consequences of mistakes and therefore put more effort into avoiding them.” “Due to their natural caution, they can also be very effective in assessing risk.” While the stereotypical job for more neurotic people is technical, back-office work, Spencer Lord believes that the best leadership groups often include someone highly neurotic in the mix. He cites an example to support his argument by saying that “on one board of directors he works with, the most important person, the financial director, has just such a personality”. Probably in this case of (in the example given by Spencer Lord) it seems that the Financial Director is a lady, as he further states that “her risk aversion, need for precision and near-obsessive attention to detail don’t make her the most popular member of the leadership team at times — she often shoots down ideas from her fellow directors — but she is utterly indispensable”.

When it comes to extroverts, its found that they are good at building relationships and getting themselves noticed, but they need to be able to show they have a good base of other skills, too, or risk being thought of as “style over substance.” Spencer Lord believes that “when it comes to hiring, it is important that companies think about how candidates’ personalities may help them fit into the organization or on teams. The individual can have all the skills, qualifications and experience in the world, but if he/ she cannot gel with your people, then the hire will not be successful.

      —————— Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh
Source: The study can be found at portal http://www.viewsnext.com

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