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Business Conference

Problematic Personalities

What is Personality?

Personality is defined as an enduring and stable pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.  Personality is influenced by a combination of heritable (genetic) and environmental factors (e.g. parental consistency). Personality is often separated into two areas:



Describes a person’s mood and general state of being



Describes particular characteristics which capture how a person behaves across differing situations

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are harmful to the self and or others. They are costly to the community and can cause marked distress via erratic and harmful behaviour. It is estimated that approximately three percent of the general population suffer from a personality disorder, while rates have been show to vary between fifty to eighty percent in some prison populations.

Personality in the Workplace

In workplace setting research has shown that personality influences a range work place outcomes, such as:

-       Creativity and innovation

-       The ability to work in a team

-       Ownership and accountability

-       Commitment and Loyalty

-        The ability to manage stress and  conflict

-       Communication and assertiveness

-       The pursuit of goals and ability to complete tasks

-       The capacity for empathy, understanding, and reflection

Although the prevalence rates of personality disorders across the workplace remains unknown, recent focus has highlighted the significant impact of dark personalities traits on business.  Personality traits exist on a spectrum, with some traits leading to altruistic tendencies, whilst other traits can result in self-centred and selfish behaviour. Due to this, there is an optimal zone of personality traits. At one end, are features referred to as the Light Triad, characterised by a faith in humanity, the belief in goodness, the desire to serve others, and the intention to do good. At the other end of the spectrum are personality traits characterised as the Dark Triad, with traits such as manipulation, cheating, ruthlessness, callousness, and a general disregard for others.

At the problematic end of the spectrum, are personality traits that often cause a variety of issues within the workplace. These problematic traits can include:

  • Grandiosity and absorption

  • Distrusts and suspicion

  • Emotional reactivity and the tendency for drama

  • Antagonism and aggression

  • A lack of empathy and concern for others

  • Manipulation and deceit

  • Tactical and coercive styles of engagement

  • Entitlement and self-centredness

  • Obsession and fixation

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