As workplace momentum continues to shift with the ever-changing CDC guidelines during the pandemic, employers may find themselves taking a closer look at the Big 5 core personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability) to help them better understand the characteristics of their new hires.
An analysis of the fifth trait (originally labeled “neuroticism”) may be particularly useful now as employers seek to avoid employees who are prone to high levels of stress and anxiety.
People who are emotionally stable are defined as calm and resilient professionals who tend to express a more hopeful and optimistic view of their circumstances, an asset while businesses are facing many obstacles.
Emotionally stable people are:
- Free from negative feelings or even-tempered
Individuals who score high in Emotional Stability are less easily upset, less emotionally reactive, and free from negative feelings, which does not mean that they experience a lot of positive feelings. This steady worker will likely be unfazed by busy work environments or fluctuations in demands.
Don’t Unload it All on the Resilient
Of course, a low level of emotional stability has many negative connotations, such as moodiness, irritability, and tendencies to anger. People with low levels of this trait may be frequently irritable or struggle to get back to work after stressful events.
For this reason, employers may feel compelled to unload a heavier burden on those who fall into the higher range of emotional stability.
Although this may be an attractive solution during demanding stretches, it could also create an imbalance that also may not allow others the same opportunities.
Further, creating a climate of work-life balance can be beneficial to all personality types, a 2019 study found, and a more emotionally steady worker deserves the same considerations for self-care and family time.
Finally, it can be seen as professionally unfair to expect more from someone just because they handle stress better. More work is more work, and these even-tempered gems may leave to find a better balance elsewhere.
Those with high levels of emotional stability are easy-going and calm, which makes them good candidates for a variety of careers.
This personality type can pivot into multiple situations, and are not affected by stress easily, making them particularly suited for positions that require grace under pressure. They are also confident in their abilities, and not prone to negativity, and as a result can perform complex work without being overwhelmed.
Some careers that emotionally stable people particularly thrive at include:
- Lew Enforcement and Public Safety
- Customer service
- Plant manager
There are not many careers that wouldn’t benefit from a cool, collected, emotionally stable team member or leader.
One exception may be within fields that depend on a creative change agent who is not afraid to rock the boat a little. Creative careers in writing or the arts may be more suited for people who are closer to the neurotic end of the spectrum.
Assess Personality Traits for a Well-Balanced Hire
When tipping the scales toward emotional stability, and far away from neuroticism, employers can avoid adding more worry and anxiety to an already stressful time.
These employees may have a calming effect to workplaces, as well as a unique ability to take on complex tasks with ease. Even though they may not be creative risk-takers, they often thrive in an environment that wears others down.
Despite their temperament, however, fairness should be sought, and work-life balance considered.
The turbulence the workplace is under after years of shifts due to the pandemic can allow this personality type to shine, whether as a leader, a steady team member, or a go-to source of much-needed resilience.