Knowing and Using Your Workplace Strengths Part Two: Conscientiousness

Knowing and Using Your Workplace Strengths Part Two: Conscientiousness

Rachel Stewart Johnson

Psychologist | Driven by communications about human behavior in Work

As distraction and volatility challenge workplaces, understand how to put either high or low Conscientiousness to use.

This week, Traitify explores how to transition into a “new normal” on the job by using the power of personality insights. Today we investigate the role of another of the “Big Five” dimensions of personality: Conscientiousness.

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What does high Conscientiousness look like in everyday life?

Individuals with high Conscientiousness tend to focus on objective measures. As a result, they do things “by the book” and consider themselves successful if they avoid errors, check off boxes, and follow specifications to a tee. In workplaces, people who are high in Conscientiousness are good at tasks that require attention to detail. They adhere to deadlines without excuses, are punctual, and keep themselves informed. A big no-no for them: leaving work unfinished. Outside of work, they often have tidy homes, make detailed personal schedules, pay all their bills on time, and show up at the dentist twice a year without fail.

If you have a higher level of Conscientiousness, you’ve probably approached COVID-19 by focusing on preparation. You stocked up on essentials days before shelves were emptied. There’s a method to your approach: you’ve got a list, and you stick to it. You obey all guidelines from government agencies and have been dismayed when others take a more lax approach.

High Conscientiousness: Tools to Use

Our personality assessment provides takeaways for optimizing on-the-job performance. Similarly, here are “Tools to Use” that help you turn your high Conscientiousness into an asset during our international crisis response:

  • Bring order to the chaos. Your ability to keep organized and task-focused will enable you to stick to your deadlines or performance goals, and inspire others to do so as well.
  • Promote vigilance. You’re a champ at following rules. You can set a good example for sanitation practices and social distancing.
  • Cultivate accountability. You always join remote meetings on time. In workplaces, you’re the one who doesn’t set foot in the kitchen without your disposable gloves on, and you triple-check carryout orders. You’re not just talking the talk, you’re walking the walk.
  • Stock the company’s “shelves.” You’re well-suited to ensuring that your team has what they need to be productive. Are laptops and WiFi connections in good shape? Have we adapted performance metrics for newly remote teams?
  • Keep your eyes on the prize. You want to do well, whether that means securing new business deals despite the downturn or managing checkout lines prudently during a shopping rush. Your low tolerance for lackluster results means you’ll be as focused and productive as ever, and you’ll keep those around you working hard, too.

What does low Conscientiousness look like in everyday life?

What about those of us who are lower in Conscientiousness? In workplaces, these coworkers remain unruffled when issues arise or corrections need to be made. They move products and services out the door without obsessing over perfection, and take a flexible approach to do whatever needs to be done, even if that means skipping from one task to the next. Outside of work, they “don’t sweat the small stuff,” plan get-togethers at the last minute, and focus on the present while leaving practical details for another day.

If you have a lower level of Conscientiousness, you have kept your stress level in check as the coronavirus response affects daily life. You’ve focused on your immediate needs and your daily goings-on without fretting too much, and you haven’t stockpiled goods in your cabinets. You may seem a bit behind as conditions have changed rapidly, but you plan to figure it out as you go.

Low Conscientiousness: Tools to Use

Lower Conscientiousness can bring value to the workplace during this time:

  • Get it done. You’re not fretting over getting everything just-so right now. Now is not the time for your coworkers to freeze up. Push work through to completion.
  • We make do with what we’ve got. People worldwide are in the midst of work situations that are less than ideal, whether that’s responding to changes in foot traffic or trying to concentrate in a makeshift home office. You are not bothered by imperfections. Help others cope by being task-oriented and pragmatic rather than dwelling on the messiness.
  • Your message: be gentle with yourselves. You give yourself room to make mistakes without beating yourself up over it. Now is a great time to encourage others to do the same.
  • Sometimes 1+1 is going to have to equal 5. When the usual step-by-step approaches are suddenly impossible or unrealistic, teams must learn workarounds. Since you’re not wedded to one way of doing things, help others brainstorm new solutions.
  • Control that? Nope. Coworkers may be eager to gain a sense of control in the midst of a fretful landscape, and find it hard to see the big picture. Since “control” has never been something that troubles you, help those around you step back and focus on what works.

In a global age where we have no precedents to rely on, behavioral science can help us manage our individual responses. Everyone has strengths that are a benefit during the age of COVID-19. Learn yours, and you’ll find it’s easier to move forward.

Don't know your personality?  Find out for free

To read more about focusing on your strengths for other dimensions of your personality, follow the links below:


To utilize the power of personality at your company, connect with Traitify’s team for more information.


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