Is Your Personality Putting You At Risk In The Workplace?

By PeopleLeaders | MBTI

Is your personality putting you at risk in the workplace

How personality type impacts workplace safety and what you can do about it.

In a recent white paper on personality type and its impact on workplace safety, the discussion centered on how personality type influences people’s perception of risk, their response to risk and their decision making effectiveness.

Here is a brief summary of the findings and recommendations.

  1. Given that the majority of hazardous incidents at work are a result of human error it makes sense to integrate an understanding of human psychology and individual differences into training and education into workplace safety. Therefore using the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) as a tool for gaining insight is the first step in understanding the type of people you are dealing with and the messaging and communication style that is needed to have the greatest impact.
  2. In general, the literature indicates intuitive (N) and often perceiving (P) types, ( e.g. INFP, ENFP)  tend to be more consistently risk seeking, whereas sensing (S)  and judging (J) types (e.g. ISTJ, ESTJ)  tend to be more risk averse ( Kowerts and Hermann, 1997; LI and Liu, 2008). Incorporating a story about how a safety process has impacted a person and their family will have a greater impact on compliance for certain personality types, than just outlining the risks factors.
  3. Stress – Different personality types are stressed by different things, they use different coping skills and show different signs that their stress is becoming overwhelming. (Quenk, 2003) (Davis- Johnson 1991). For example when an INTP is stressed  they can move from  healthy skepticism to unhealthy cynicism. This is an indicator of stress levels and therefore their decision making ability becomes less effective. The recommendation from the report  –  that Myers Briggs specific stress management training and burnout prevention programs be included in workplace safety programs.

An understanding of individual differences through the MBTI instrument can help build a safety culture and minimise safety incidents.