The areas of our personalities we reveal when we are stressed or under pressure (often referred to as Dark Sides) are neither good or bad nor right or wrong – it is part of who we are. They can, however, determine our reputation at work. And developing your self-awareness of these can help enhance your reputation.
In terms of career progression, how other people assess your abilities is more consequential than how you assess your own – reputation is everything. After all, people are what they repeatedly do, not what they say they do.
In stressful or novel situations, our strengths go into overdrive to compensate for the anxiety we feel; revealing our dark side. When the pressure’s on, the line between strength and weakness is often blurred. An example might be, personal ambition becoming ruthlessness or attention-to-detail becoming micromanaging – both likely to damage reputation.
Emotional volatility is a common dark side. This is the boss who vacillates between intense enthusiasms and explosive outbursts. In other words, this can be tricky to work with because it is unpredictable. Advice for dealing with an excitable boss, for example, would be to expect the unexpected, give them as much notice as possible and frame your messages optimistically versus pessimistically. Just as learning more about our personalities aids our personal and professional development, recognising these characteristics in yourself and others will improve effective communication on a daily basis.
The dark side of personality can derail careers and companies but can be managed with better understanding. And certain behaviours that are not suitable for some roles are advantageous in other jobs.