Moment Of Clarity

Seven Personality Traits that Can Get You Fired

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In 20 years of working with high performers, I’ve come across quite a few egos.  Truth be told, if it weren’t for the fact that they were great at what they did, they’d be fired.

With that said, there are plenty of high performing professionals who get the pink slip anyway because their personality doesn’t fit the culture of the company.

Below is a list of seven personality traits that can get you in trouble if they create more problems than solutions. The more traits you have, the higher the chances you’ll be first in line on the chopping block.

1) Controlling. All in all, there is nothing wrong with trying to control a situation that may be getting out of hand.  However, if you constantly try to dominate a person or situation, you limit collaboration, learning, innovation, and productivity — while reducing morale. This type of restriction in the workplace stifles productivity and can negatively impact the bottom line.

2) Judgmental. Having an opinion is fine, however constantly judging people and situations is negative and subjective.  This is why judgmental people have such a difficult time maintaining relationships — and maintaining decent professional relationships at work is essential.  If you do have an opinion, frame it objectively by stating the facts and making an educated decision or conclusion based on those facts.

3) Gossip. Talking too much has gotten people in trouble at work. The problem is not so much that people talk or gossip because that’s going to happen anyway; the issue is talking to the wrong people about one’s unhappiness with the company and the people who work there. This can affect morale and productivity in ways that can cost the company money.

4) Being a Know-it-all. It’s good to be an expert at what you do; even then there are times when you are going to be wrong. Those who know it all become isolated because they can make others feel disregarded. People who feel they are never wrong tend to be judgmental, talk about other people behind their backs, and try to control situations because they don’t trust that other people know what they’re doing.

5) Need to win. If there is a winner there has to be a loser – and no one wants to be a loser.  When you make everything a competition it will be difficult for others to want to collaborate with you. Sure, everyone wants to win, but the most valuable lessons are learned from failures. Too much competitiveness can also negatively impact collaboration, productivity, and office morale.

6) Arrogant. Similar to the know-it-all, arrogant people often look down on the people around them. They tend to be judgmental, gossip and believe they’re never wrong. At some level, they truly believe they are better than everyone else and only a few people deserve their respect, but even those individuals pale in comparison to them.

7) Selfish. Only thinking about how your participation and engagement will benefit you is a surefire way to get you negatively noticed. While it’s important to do what you love, you also have to be willing to do things that may not be interesting or ideal. When people feel your disinterest, it affects morale, collaboration, and productivity, you also miss out on opportunities to learn from and develop relationships with other people. Having this trait will stifle collaboration, reduce morale, and negatively impact productivity.

As you review these seven personality traits, the red thread that flows through each is: limiting of collaboration, reduction in morale, and negative impact on productivity. These are the three things that are essential to how companies remain competitive, innovative, and profitable.

If you have any of these traits, it would behoove you to ensure that they are expressed in moderation. If projected excessively, people may have a problem working with you, which can make you expendable.

If you have several of these personality traits, chances are that people will feel that working with you is painful, and your value to the company or the group will be minimal at best.

The best way to improve your personality is to become more aware of how people experience you. There is an incredible assessment you can take to better understand how people experience you, what you can do immediately to change negative experiences of you, and how you can become a valuable resource within your organization.

The name of this assessment tool is called “The Attentional and Interpersonal Skills Inventory” (TAIS). I use this tool with my clients and patients all of the time and it has never been wrong. They actually make progress in a very short amount of time and become more socially adept.

I hope you found this article helpful and I wish you pleasant journeys.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!