Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Your Personal Bandwidth

Before you start looking for work, it’s important that you understand your personality bandwidth. Personality bandwidth is a little different from the “Who do you like to work with?” question we explored in the previous chapter. It measures your tolerance of different personalities. The range of personalities you can work with helps determine your personality bandwidth. If someone gets along with everyone and everyone loves them back, then they have a wide personality bandwidth. If someone is only comfortable with certain kinds of personalities, and only certain kinds of people are comfortable with them, then they have a narrow personality bandwidth.

I was interviewing an individual for a marketing job in Canada. He was anxious to get the job and told me all the reasons he would be suited to the role based on his CV and past experience. So I asked him, “What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said about you?” He replied without hesitation, “I don’t suffer fools very well. Most people piss me off.”

The candidate’s answer told me that he might have a very narrow personality bandwidth—and therefore be entirely unsuited for this particular job. Like others with a narrow personality band- width, he had strong sense of the personalities he wanted to be around and those he wanted   to avoid. This gave him an approach that could rub others the wrong way. It’s okay for him to be bespoken in this way, but he needed to under- stand how narrow his world was. He would work best in a place where his work spoke for itself and he didn’t have to interact a lot with people. As a marketer for products, he would have to work with every level in the organization; in this kind of sales-generation role, he’d be a disaster.

A broad personality bandwidth, on the other hand, is like being able to speak numerous lan- guages. Typically, people with a broad bandwidth have jobs in customer service, client relationships, and sales. They don’t care if someone is difficult or overbearing because by their very nature—their personality bandwidth—they get along with everyone. They can communicate with a wider variety of personalities; clients and friends are one and the same. They find it easy to be empathetic and can almost instantly connect on some level with everyone.

Those with broad personality bandwidths can tolerate a diverse range of personality types, and they see the best in all they meet. Those with narrow bandwidths have to choose their clients or employer more carefully. For that marketing job, I knew the company needed someone who loves everyone because that’s what makes for a great salesperson, not someone who finds most personalities difficult to deal with.

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