Why do people dislike weak people

Study Unmasked: These 11 Dark Personality Traits Are Dangerous to Your Career

If you want to be successful in your job and have a steep career, you need a whole range of soft skills. But every person has weaknesses in addition to their strengths and it is precisely these personality traits - eleven of them to be precise - that can stand in the way of your success. We would like to explain below what these are, why they cause problems and how you can get rid of these "dark personality traits".

1. Study exposes so-called "dark personality traits"
2. The connection between your personality and career
3. What are the eleven dark personality traits?
4. # 1 Malicious
5. # 2 Inventive
6. # 3 Excitable
7. # 4 Colorful
8. # 5 obedience
9. # 6 Leisurely
10. # 7 Conscientious
11. # 8 Suspicious
12. # 9 Daring
13. # 10 Restrained
14. # 11 Doubtful
15. 40 percent of people have career-damaging personality traits
16. Are the dark personality traits "curable"?

Study exposes so-called "dark personality traits"

A person's personality is so complex that you can never grasp it 100 percent - neither in other people nor in yourself. Some traits are innate, others acquired through upbringing, and still others have developed or been lost in the course of life. Man is in constant change and his personality is not set in stone either. Nevertheless, there are fundamental personality traits in every person, which in their unique constellation shape their character and only change in the rarest of cases - for example through strokes of fate or long-term therapy:

  • A helpful and empathetic person does not suddenly become emotionally cold and a manipulative exploiter.
  • A narcissist does not suddenly develop a healthy level of self-confidence and a high level of empathy for their social environment.
  • A self-promoter doesn't suddenly wake up one morning a humble and shy person.

People can slip into different roles or work on themselves in terms of personal development. But such basic personality traits cannot be changed - at least not easily, not quickly and often not without external help. It is therefore quite exciting to go into self-reflection and explore your own personality traits. At the latest, the next time you sit in front of your application documents or prepare for an interview, you will be forced to do so anyway. It is not without reason that almost all HR managers ask about your strengths and weaknesses.

Reading tip: Job interview: Name strengths and weaknesses

That is exactly the point: Everyone has not only strengths, but also weaknesses. Even if you are only too happy to hide the latter. Around two decades ago, according to HBR, the two psychologists Joyce and Robert Hogan dealt with this topic and identified eleven weaknesses that sooner or later become a problem for those affected with regard to their careers. Loosely translated they called them the eleven "dark personality traits".

The connection between your personality and career

So it's not about small weaknesses like “I just can't resist with chocolate”, but about eleven of the fundamental and hardly changeable personality traits that have negative effects - especially in professional life. The study found that a strong expression of one of these weaknesses or a corresponding combination of the eleven dark personality traits always became a career obstacle for those affected over time, regardless of how successful they were at the starting point. That means: You can be successful in spite of these dark personality traits, but never in the long run. A similar effect occurs, for example, with a narcissistic disorder, as we have already explained in the following article:

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For long-term success, you need appropriate strengths, which are often referred to as soft skills. These "good" or career-enhancing personality traits include, for example:

On the other hand, you must not have certain dark personality traits or weaknesses or you should work as quickly as possible to get rid of them or at least to lessen their expression. Your personality is therefore the fundamental factor that determines success or failure in your professional life. Accordingly, when developing your personality, you should not only concentrate on your strengths on one side, but also work on your weaknesses on the other.

What are the eleven dark personality traits?

In their study, Joyce and Robert Hogan exposed eleven personality traits that are extremely detrimental to your career. Take an honest look at the following descriptions and ask yourself whether you have these weaknesses. But please don't be frightened: JEvery person will find themselves in one or more of these dark personality traits. As mentioned earlier, the human personality is extremely complex. That doesn't mean you are doomed to fail. This is only the case with a correspondingly strong expression or with a toxic combination of these personality traits with one another. So if you notice a weakness in yourself, it is completely normal. But you can and should work on it anyway - after all, it can't hurt! So what are the eleven dark personality traits according to Robert and Joyce Hogan?

# 1 wicked:

While many of the other dark personality traits may sound neutral or even positive at first glance, the case with the malicious character type is clear. These are people who are willing to take risks, who like to test their own limits and those of their social environment and are always on the lookout for the next "kick". In doing so, they proceed ruthlessly and with little empathy. The malicious personality trait is particularly pronounced in disorders such as narcissism or psychopathy. This in no way means that the person concerned cannot also have positive personality traits such as eloquence, helpfulness or charisma - but not infrequently without selfish ulterior motives.

Reading tip: Learn charisma: 13 tips for more charisma

The exciting thing is that all of the eleven dark personality traits can (also) be beneficial to your career. Over time, however, their damage outweighs them. Using the example of the "malicious" trait, this means:

  • Malicious people love risk and can - for example due to narcissistic traits - often appear charming and extremely convincing. As a result, they quickly climb the corporate ladder and are extremely successful at the start of their careers.
  • Only over time does their impulsive and manipulative nature thwart their plans. They get more and more into interpersonal conflicts, get entangled in lies or take too great a risk and fail.

# 2 resourceful:

While a malicious personality trait is often associated with a tangible disorder, its career detriment is obvious. But what about the other ten? Ingenuity sounds anything but bad at first glance. It is about the ability to think creatively and “differently” than perhaps colleagues or superiors. As visionaries, people who have this dark personality trait are predestined for independence. Steve Jobs would be a prominent example of this. In fact, such out-of-the-box thinkers can be extremely valuable and correspondingly successful for a company.

Reading tip: Unconventional thinkers as the new elite: Why freaks are better suited to managers than the run-of-the-mill employees

In the long run, however, the personality trait makes it too volatile to work constantly on a goal or in a job. Sometimes the ideas get so crazy that they are interesting, but simply unrealistic. As important as visionaries are for a company, they are usually unsuitable as managers. In the wrong environment without appropriate support, sooner or later these people's careers will come to a standstill.

# 3 excitable:

People with a strongly developed excitable personality trait are less choleric than constantly dissatisfied complainers. Zwar they get excited quickly and then float in the highest spheres of happiness, unfortunately this state never lasts long. Instead, they move in constant dissatisfaction most of the time. This is going through, for example

  • Mood swings,
  • emotional instability as well
  • too high demands noticeable.

Reading tip: Goodbye mood swings - Hello emotional stability!

They are difficult to satisfy and can quickly get on the nerves of their professional environment. When excitable people are in their enthusiastic phase, you can get carried away, inspire and motivate those around you. These would actually be the perfect qualities for a manager. Unfortunately, their volatility knows how to prevent this hierarchical ascent as well as their regular outbursts of anger or constant nagging, which increasingly provoke interpersonal conflicts.

# 4 colorful:

The colorful personality type is of course to be understood metaphorically. A “colorful” trait describes a very striking personality. It is extravagant, likes to be the center of attention and therefore always attracts attention. Unfortunately, she is accordingly self-centered and prone to constant drama. "Colorful" employees in the company are a welcome entertainer to loosen up the boring working day or to bring a little momentum to the team, but their social skills are not sufficient for a steep career. Because of their self-centeredness, they tend to interrupt their counterparts and act with little empathy.

# 5 obedience:

People with the obedient personality trait avoid any conflict and would therefore do everything to please their counterpart - for example their superior. You are dutiful, disciplined and in need of harmony. Their loyalty and hard work make these people the "perfect" employees. Unfortunately, because of their fear of making mistakes, they are unable to act and work independently. They cannot handle conflicts that are unfortunately unavoidable in companies and their submissive nature makes them unsuitable for leadership.

# 6 leisurely:

The leisurely personality type is described in English as “Leisurely”, which is where the word “leisure” is. It is a personality trait that presents itself in a cooperative and sociable manner in professional life, but actually places more value on leisure than on the job. As soon as work and private life get in the way, people with pronounced, leisurely personality traits tend to be stubborn and irritable.

Reading tip: Just relax: 5 tips for more serenity at work

While their serenity would actually promote their career, the passive-aggressive defense of their private life can stand in the way of professional success.

# 7 conscientious:

The conscientious man works meticulously. He quickly gets lost in details and loses a lot of valuable working time in the process. People with a pronounced, conscientious personality trait tend to be perfect and stand in the way of their own career. Although they are ideal for jobs with high responsibility, as they make very few mistakes, they would simply be too unproductive in a management position.

Reading tip: Perfectionist & proud of it? Why you should shed perfectionism

All in all, the "conscientious" employee is very hardworking and disciplined. He sets very high - sometimes too high - standards for himself and his environment. Due to his micromanagement, however, he comes under time pressure, reacts stressed and loses self-confidence, because it feels like all other colleagues or superiors can do their work "effortlessly" within the given time frame.

# 8 suspicious:

People with very suspicious traits have usually experienced a lot of disappointments in life. They try to protect themselves from further harm through cynicism and low expectations. you are

  • fundamentally skeptical,
  • sensitive to any criticism which they perceive as personal injury and
  • have a negative worldview - especially of other people.

These “cynics” always expect the worst and assume that their social environment is hostile to them. Suspicious people often have a high level of empathy and sensitivity. They have a feeling for falsehoods, manipulations or situations in which something is "wrong". You are therefore actually ideally suited for a position with a high level of responsibility, perhaps even starting your own company. Unfortunately, they appear quarrelsome, exhausting or simply unsympathetic to their social environment. And since relationships are the alpha and omega of professional success, there is no room for too much distrust here.

# 9 daring:

The daring personality trait leads to the fact that those affected have an excessive self-esteem and are overly self-confident to arrogant and presumptuous. On the one hand, it is - however unsympathetic it may sound - a career-enhancing quality.

Reading tip: Self-image: why show-offers have good cards in their job

However, the “daring” employee likes to take it to the extreme. He appears determined, almost know-it-all, and offends his counterpart as a result. At some point, with his seemingly unshakable self-confidence and self-portrayal, he gets on the nerves of his social environment and thus also of the decision-makers in the company. With the steep career, it often works out at the beginning, but as soon as the big promises turn out to be empty, the hierarchical rise is usually abruptly ended.

# 10 reserved:

In complete contrast to this is the reserved personality trait. Nevertheless, this is at least as bad for your career. Restrained characters appear shy, not very decisive and overly cautious. It takes them a long time to accept and adapt to change. Taking risks would be just as unthinkable for such people as making quick and flexible decisions. In our complex business world, this is absolute career poison. Nevertheless, people with these personality traits can be quite successful in a suitable position due to their care and restraint - just not as a manager.

# 11 doubtful:

The doubtful personality trait is closely related to the reserved. He creates a high degree of detachment and reserve. On the social environment, this has a distant, arrogant or simply "strange" effect. In any case, people with a pronounced doubtful personality trait are very difficult for their counterpart to assess. They present themselves indifferent to the feelings of their social environment and appear emotionally cold as a result. With the doubtful personality type

  • his stoic calm, especially in stressful situations, can be a plus for your career. He gives his employees or team members orientation and always keeps a cool head.
  • However, sooner or later his lack of social skills will thwart his plans, as they are essential for a management position.

A little more sensitivity and empathy would be necessary for the doubtful personality trait in order to be permanently successful in the job.

Reading tip: Empathy: Why this soft skill is so important and how you can train it

40 percent of people have career-damaging personality traits

As mentioned before, it is absolutely not uncommon to find parts of yourself in one or more of the dark personality traits. But the study also found that no less than 40 percent of all people have one of these personality traits to such an extent that it harms their careers. Some even have several in a toxic combination. Accordingly, 40 percent of our western society is unsuitable as a manager. Unfortunately, this awareness does not seem to have reached all decision-makers yet, so that many unsuitable people, for example with a malicious personality such as can result from a narcissistic disorder, sit in powerful positions.

Are the dark personality traits "curable"?

In view of this, wouldn't it be desirable if such dark personality traits could be healed? For sure! Unfortunately, this is only possible - if at all - by the person concerned. However, some personality traits such as daring stand in the way of the "healing" itself. After all, it is almost impossible for people with a distinctly daring personality to go into self-criticism and see that there is room for improvement at this point. Ultimately, this would contradict her overconfident. On the other hand, those who are capable of self-reflection and perceive dark personality traits in themselves can certainly work on them. In extreme cases, however, a third person, such as a psychotherapist, should be consulted to help.

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All in all, changing basic personality traits is not always possible, and if so, it is only possible with a high degree of self-reflection and self-discipline. In addition, you always need time to develop your personality. If, on the other hand, you are already able to find yourself in one of the dark traits mentioned, you have taken an important first step in the right direction. We can only congratulate you on this. So it is not impossible to become a permanently successful person despite having a “dark personality”. Unfortunately, it's not easy either.

Or what do you think? Do you also have dark personality traits? To what extent are these beneficial or hindering for your career? How can those affected work on themselves?

Photo credit: Photo by Simon Wijers on Unsplash


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