Using five factors to describe a person’s personality, the Big Five personality test is a purely descriptive model that is based on the idea that five main dimensions are necessary and sufficient for broadly describing human personality.
Understanding your Big Five personality can be a very practical way for you to use this knowledge for personal development, career development, leadership training, or team-building.
If you are looking for a job, the Big Five personality test can help you understand more about your strengths and weaknesses and help you find a more fulfilling job.
If you are an employee or manager, understanding your employees’ personality with this test can help you to manage different personalities and perform task allocation more efficiently.
The five dimensions of the Big Five personality test are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. It is often abbreviated as OCEAN.
The Five Dimensions of Personality
An open team member can be someone that is curious, original, intellectual, creative and open to new ideas. They tend to be more aware of their feelings and are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs.
Others with lower scores prefer the straightforward over the complex or ambiguous. This is because they may have more conventional and traditional interests.
It is also found that people who are more open are more appreciative of the arts, and may approach the sciences with more apprehension while it is the reverse for people who are more closed.
Some behavourial examples of those who are highly open include taking the initiative to learn something new simply for the joy of learning, watching documentaries or educational television, looking for stimulating activities that break up one’s routine.
A conscientious team member can be someone who is organized, systematic, punctual, achievement oriented and dependable. These people show a distinct preference for planning their schedule ahead.
They also have act dutifully according to jobs tasked to them, and aim for achievement against measures or outside expectations.
The trait generally describes someone who brainstorms ideas before acting, delaying gratification, following norms and rules, and planning, organizing and prioritizing tasks.
Some behavourial examples of those who are highly conscientious include arriving early or on time for meeting, double-checking work before submission.
A team member who is extraverted can be outgoing, talkative, sociable, and enjoys social situations. It is characterized by positive emotions, and the tendency to seek out stimulation and the company of other colleagues.
Extraverts enjoy being around their colleagues, and are often perceived as full of energy because of their enthusiasm and quest for excitement. In groups, they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves.
The opposite of these extroverts seem quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. However, their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression.
Introverts simply need less stimulation than extraverts and more time alone. They may be very active and energetic, simply not socially.
The trait generally implies an energetic approach toward the social and material world.
Some behavourial examples of high openness include approaching new colleagues and introducing themselves; taking the lead in organizing a project. The reverse includes keeping quiet when one disagrees with others.
A team member who has high levels of agreeableness can be affable, tolerant, sensitive, trusting, kind and warm.
Agreeable individuals value getting along with other colleagues and are generally considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others.
Disagreeable individuals on the other hand are less concerned with others’ well being, and are less likely to extend themselves for other people. They have more skepticism about others’ motives, which causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.
Some behavourial examples of highly agreeable individuals include emphasizing the good qualities of other people during peer evaluation.
A team member who is neurotic can be anxious, irritable, temperamental, and moody. People who are more neurotic have a higher tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression during stress at work.
At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset.
They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. However, freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings.
Some behavourial examples of those who are not highly neurotic are accepting mistakes and failures within the team without complaining.
The Limitation of the Big Five Personality Test
Before you proceed ahead with the Big Five personality test, it is good to note that each of the Big Five factors are very broad and comprise of a range of more specific traits.
Thus, there are many aspects of your team member’s personality that are not subsumed within the Big Five. Also, people vary continuously along the factors, with most falling in between the extremes.
For this reason, even a very comprehensive profile of somebody’s personality traits can only be considered a partial description of their personality.
The test is to be analyzed as a rough outline of a person’s personality and not a determinant of it. We are ultimately a product of our choices and this test should not be used as a judge or predictor of behavior.
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