There are lots of things which can affect your success at work. Your drive and ambition, how well you work with the rest of your team, how you are perceived by your boss, and of course, how good you are at your job. Nevertheless, did you ever think your partner’s personality could be a contributing factor, too?
Most people don’t think about their partners personality in terms of affecting their career success, but in fact, here are 5 reasons why your success at work lies in your partner’s personality:
1. You’re Independent – But You’re Not An Island
Some people are naturally resistant to the idea that their partner’s personality has an impact on their career success. It’s understandable. After all, aren’t we all sovereign beings who have sole responsibility for our lives and success?
But, think about it this way – are you more likely to perform well at work if you’re struggling with a lot of drama at home, or if your home life is running smoothly?
Imagine trying to get through an important meeting with your energy and focus intact, after a rough night fighting with your partner. When you think of it that way, it’s clear that your home life can and does impact your work life.
2. It Goes Beyond Whether You Fight Or Not
It’s obvious that having drama at home bleeds over into the workplace and impacts your performance. However, the effect of your partner’s personality on your career success goes beyond whether your relationship is drama-free or not.
Recent research from Washington University in St Louis shows that your partner’s personality has an effect on your working success. The study showed that the impact goes far beyond whether your partner is supportive during the big moments such as going for a promotion or a pay raise. In fact, your partner’s everyday behavior and attitude have a noticeable effect on your work life.
“It’s getting the right person that’s the challenge.” – Bob Schieffer
3. Why A Conscientious Partner Contributes To Work Success
Specifically, the study showed people who have a conscientious partner do better at work. If you have a conscientious partner, you know that you can trust them to do what they say they will do and have a strong sense of responsibility towards household tasks and chores.
People who have a conscientious partner feel more comfortable “outsourcing” to them. That means that if they’re busy at work, or caught up in a big project, they can put more attention and focus on it, because they know things at home will be taken care of in their absence. This increased focus makes it easier for them to succeed at work.
4. What If Your Partner Isn’t Conscientious?
Some of you might be reading this thinking “that’s great, but my partner isn’t that conscientious!” In that case, don’t despair. It’s time for some honest and open communication with your partner.
Sit down with your partner and talk honestly about how much their support means to you. Don’t accuse – that won’t help – but simply be honest about how their support at home contributes to your work life. Take the time to reassure them you want to offer them similar support when they need it.
5. It’s Time To Be Each Other’s Best Teammate
Whether it’s you who’s employed or your partner or the both of you, it’s time for you to be each other’s best teammate. Sit down with your partner and have an honest discussion about division of labor at home. Figure out who is responsible for which chores and household tasks, and talk about what happens when one of you is busy at work.
Being a good team goes beyond collaborating when it comes to housework and childcare, and into recognizing the way you impact each other’s work life and success. After all, success for one of you at work equals success for your household as a whole in terms of better cashflow and more stability.
“When I find the right person, nothing else will matter, but I’m prepared to kiss a lot of frogs.” – Sam Smith
Make time to talk with your partner about what is going on at their workplace, and share what is happening in your own career. Be aware of the times when your partner needs extra support because work is busy, and share honestly with them when you need some extra support.
Your home life has a direct impact on your working success. Stay aware of the effects so you can keep open communication with your partner and work towards greater success for both of you.
What does your partner do that makes you feel like they support you? Let us know by commenting below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?
When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?
As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?
Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.
Let’s park this one for now and we will come back.
Categorization is essential to our survival
There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses.
The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.
An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.
In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.
When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting!
Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.
- lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin
- lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin
The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.
Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored.
This amazing skill has its drawbacks
As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.
Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)
Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.
This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.
Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.
The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people?
We can overcome unconscious bias
Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals.
Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms.
Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds.
The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals.
What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!
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