FAQ Nos 7, 8 & 9 Does Personality Change? Work Experience, and Nature vs Nurture.
During the past 4-decades of coaching and writing about inter-personal skills in general and Primary Personality in particular, ten questions recur. Here is my reply to numbers 7, 8 & 9.
7. Does Personality Change With Age?
Everyone's personality is wired by their 5th birthday, and only psychological trauma can permanently change it - usually not for the better. Getting older, however, can help some people become more tolerant of others, especially within family.
For example, one of our clients in his late forties asked why he was getting on better with his daughter since she gave birth to his first grandchild. My reply indicated that some people psychologically mature better than others with the passing years. But their personality does not change. Only their willingness to take the time to relate to others better. He was probably paying more attention to his daughter now she was a mother. And she was probably taking more time to understand her father as a grand-dad.
So, why wait decades to get on better with those who are important to us, when we can learn how to relate to them now?
8. Does Work Experience Improve Personality?
Appropriate work experience can help - appropriately! This is especially true when interpersonal skills awareness is part of continuous professional development (CPD). Organisations who truly commit to the career potential and true progress of their people reap the double-dividends of genuinely loyal staff and greater individual productivity, which is essentially down to relating to others the way they need to be related to.
Selecting the right person for the right position requires personality assessment of the job-role as well as the individuals being considered.
9. What About Nature vs Nurture?
The Nature school of thought claims personality is genetic, meaning children predominently inherit the behaviour traits of their ancestors. The Nurture school of thought claims behaviour is predominently learned.
We subscribe to the latter view as demonstrated by an experiment of identical twins. One set was raised from early childhood by the same foster parents, whilst the other set were raised by separate foster parents. Whilst the first set displayed similar primary personalities, the separated twins did not. You may judge for yourself the value of this experiment, however, we suggest that it does not matter how someone obtained their behaviour traits; what matters is how you and I inter-relate with each primary personality.
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