Personality power: How you present yourself at work

Personality will not save that person at work. You can wow with personality, but you can only get so far with a dazzling wit.

Self-Assessment Quiz ─ TRUE or FALSE:

  1. If I want to be taken seriously at work, I’d better be serious – at all times.
  2. Earning trust from my fellow coworkers has nothing to do with how I present myself emotionally day-to-day.
  3. I’m aware of how my personality affects those I work with.

When things get out of hand in life, you know it’s time for a reality check, but when was the last time you took a personality check … at work? I was chatting with a colleague the other day, and we came to the topic of what our own work personality is like. Then we examined some of those who worked for us. Now, we both agreed that a great personality can go a long way on the job. Generally, most people prefer to work with an upbeat person more than a sourpuss. However, I made the point that you’ve gotta have a great personality that is combined with hard work and solid output. Otherwise, what’s the point? An employee can be dumb as a doorknob and get nothing done. Personality will not save that person at work. You can wow with personality, but you can only get so far with a dazzling wit. I had one employee who sorta drove me crazy because she was overly bubbly. My impression of her was that she was someone who was trying too darn hard! She reminded me of a puppy. She was all over the place AND wasn’t really getting the job done but was just as happy as she could be! I’m here to tell you: yes, be professionally happy and positive, but don’t hang your star on your winning personality alone. Work and work hard!

My colleague brought up a time early in her career where she’d made a huge mistake on a project, and she apologized to her boss with a bit of a smile which prompted a chewing out that included the boss pretty much yelling at her, “Do you understand the severity of what you’ve done?!” She totally had! My colleague says that she used her smile back then as a shield because she knew that if she showed her real feelings (embarrassment, anger) and how incredibly upset she was at making any kind of mistake, she would cry in front of her boss, and that wasn’t what she wanted to do at all! She learned that she had to balance her bubbly with a bit of gravity in order to be taken seriously.

If you are one of those bubbly people who smile a lot at work, be aware of how you’re presenting yourself. I’m not saying you should become a Debbie No-Smile Downer. What I am saying is make sure your personality power is tempered for the environment of your job and that you come across as someone professional and trustworthy and not like a wind-up toy. If you’re not sure, set some time with your boss. Ask away. She’ll appreciate that you’re taking the time and showing concern about your professionalism. If your boss ain’t got time for that, pull a coworker aside (someone you trust) and ask him or her for feedback. You’ll be happy you did.  And if you answered FALSE to all of the self-assessment questions above, now might be the time for a personality reboot!

Cheryl Grace is the sassy aunt, best friend, and mentor you’ve always needed in your life. The successful jet-setting, global corporate executive founded the aspirational lifestyle brand Powerful Penny LLC. Her products, workshops and speeches probe, inspire and empower to ensure those who really want to can get to their next level of best. Her blogs on careers, prosperity, relationships, family, looking and living fabulously, and living a five-star life can be found at www.powerfulpenny.com.