“What you are comes to you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m a fan of lenses to help me get a better perspective or vantage point. If you’re looking for a job or thinking about your career, you can use Holland’s theory of career choice to help you find a better fit.
John L. Holland identified 6 personality and work environment types. According to Holland, if you can match your personality type and your work environment, you can improve your success and satisfaction. The idea is that “birds of a feather, flock together,” and that people with the same personality type tend to enjoy working with each other. For example, Artistic people enjoy working with other Artistic people.
Additionally, people with the same personality type tend to create a work environment that rewards thinking and behaving like that type. For example, an Artistic environment rewards creative expression. The result? … When you’re in an environment that supports you, you act and feel more effective. The thing to remember is that personality types are really just lenses on behavior. Rather than assume you’re just one personality type, Holland suggests that you have interests with each of the 6 personality types, in descending order, effectively creating 720 different personality patterns.
In the book The Truth About Managing People…And Nothing But the Truth , Stephen R. Robbins writes about the six personality and work environment types.
6 Personality and Work Environment Types
Here are the six personality and work environment types based on Holland:
Here is a summary of the six personality and work environment types based on Holland:
- Realistic (Do’er) – Prefers physical activities that require skill, strength, and coordination. Traits include genuine, stable, conforming, and practical. Example professions include architect, farmer, and engineer.
- Investigative (Thinker) – Prefers working with theory and information, thinking, organizing, and understanding. Traits include: analytical, curious, and independent. Example professions include lawyer, mathematician, and professor.
- Artistic (Creator) – Prefers creative, original, and unsystematic activities that allow creative expression. Traits include: imaginative, disorderly, idealistic, emotional, and impractical. Example professions include: artist, musician, and writer.
- Social (Helper) – Prefers activities that involve helping, healing, or developing others. Traits include cooperative, friendly, sociable, and understanding. Example professions include counselor, doctor, and teacher.
- Enterprising (Persuader) – Prefers competitive environments, leadership, influence, selling, and status. Traits include ambitious, domineering, energetic, and self-confident. Example professions include Management, Marketing, and Sales Person.
- Conventional (Organizer) – Prefers precise, rule-regulated, orderly, and unambiguous activities. Traits include conforming, efficient, practical, unimaginative, and inflexible. Example professions include accountant, clerk and editor.
Match Personalities and Jobs
People are happiest when they are put in jobs that match their personality. Robbins writes:
“The evidence indicates that employee satisfaction is highest and turnover lowest when personality and occupation are in agreement. social individuals, for instance, should be in social jobs, conventional people in conventional jobs, and so forth.”
Holland created a hexagon view to show the relationships of personality types. Personality types closer to each other are more alike. Personality types further away are least alike.
For example, artistic is least like conventional, but closer to investigative and social.
Compatible Work Environments
The following table summarizes the compatibility of personality type with work environments:
|Personality Type||Most Compatible
Here are some additional resource to explore the Holland Codes:
- Holland Codes (Wikipedia)
- Browse jobs by personality and work environment types (O*Net Online)
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Photo by dawvon.