Are These Personality Traits Stunting Your Professional Growth?

Employee Advice | PreviewMe | 3 August 2018

Candidates are often told to look at the positive traits and qualities they possess and to concentrate on them. But, what is seldom discussed is the qualities and traits that could be holding them back.

Below we look at five common traits that may affect your ability to succeed in a workplace and reach your goals. If you stumble on one that you see within yourself, don’t fret, there are always steps to help reduce their effect.


The glass is half-empty

There is always that one person in every workplace. We all know them, the world is always against them and the work just doesn’t stop. The glass-half-empty people always find a fault or issue with every situation.

In most cases, pessimists tend to find it hard to progress to any great heights in their careers. As they often focus on how a situation may go wrong, instead of seeing the potential benefits of a situation.

If you see this trait in yourself, next time you are looking at a situation from a negative point of view, try to refocus your attention on the positive aspects. It may take a bit of training but look at new situations as opportunities, not things to fear.


Flying off the handle

The hothead. These are the employees that have little control over their emotions and how they react. Typically, they overreact and make a big deal over any minor issue or a misread situation.

These employees do themselves no favours within their workplace. As they tend to lose the respect of colleagues fairly quickly, which makes it hard for their managers to promote them to influential positions.

We are all prone to losing our cool every now and then at work, as work can often be very stressful. However, if you find it happening more than you’d like, there are a number of ways to handle it. Try counting to 10, taking a few deep breaths or going for a walk, don’t let a temper hold your career back.  


The workplace bully

While some bullies eventually do make it into leadership positions, don’t be surprised if it takes them a while or the opportunities available to them are limited. This is generally due to the fact they are either disliked or feared and find it hard to get along with colleagues.

Successful workplaces are built on a friendly culture and a team-first mindset. However, workplace bullies tend to alienate themselves from others and thus company culture suffers. Ultimately, making it hard to promote them into influential positions.

If this is you, try to rectify any relationships you have damaged and work on being more positive within your office.


“I’m sorry”

The chronic apologiser, they are the individuals that apologise for every little thing. ‘Sorry to bother you’, ‘sorry I’ll fix that now’, the list goes on and on.

The issue with these people is they often come across as incompetent or too shy to make a quality leader or manager, even if they are excellent at their job. This may be more of a trained reaction, rather than a trait, which means it can be changed.

The first step to changing this behaviour is to be mindful of situations when you commonly apologise. From there, make an effort to ask yourself, if the situation really deserves an apology. If it doesn’t, take a breath and save the apology for when it’s needed.  


“But that’s the way it’s always been done”

Change-resistant individuals are very similar to the glass half empty people. You will be able to spot them from a mile away. They are always slow in the uptake of new systems or technologies, and any thought of operational change is often met with ‘but that’s the way we’ve always done it.’

Sadly, in today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business environment, there is little room for people with this trait, regardless of how good they are at their job.

Although you may not consciously be aware of this trait, you may fall into it. Instead of resisting change, try to embrace it. Challenge yourself to be open-minded and welcoming of change. Chances are the things that you may be resisting might actually make your job easier or improve your output.


If you are reading this and noticing one or two of these traits in yourself, it isn’t the end of the world. The good thing is, behaviours and traits can be changed if we actively make an effort to modify our behaviours. If you are able to achieve this, you will find you’ll enjoy your work a lot more and your chances of a promotion will steadily increase.