Car Dealer Insider Sep 15, 2008
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Car Dealer Insider Sep 15, 2008

Which traits predict on-the-job success in a car dealership? - Psychologists explore how personality affects ability to perform well on the job

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Which traits predict on-the-job success in a car dealership? - Psychologists explore how personality affects ability to perform well on the job

There's an old saying to the effect that it's better to be lucky than smart. But psychologists are proving the adage wrong. They say top performers are likely to be smart and demonstrate certain key personality characteristics. And nowhere is this more important than in a car dealership with its perpetual need for reliable, high quality, success-oriented employees.

For years psychologists turned to measures of intelligence as a predictor of job performance: Smarter people were considered more likely to succeed on the job. They learn faster, after all. But intelligence alone is only part of the story. Creativity, leadership, integrity, attendance and cooperation also play major roles in a person's job suitability and productivity. Personality, rather than intelligence, predicts these qualities.

Armed with this belief, psychologists are trying to tease out personality's impact on overall job performance. Although they haven't unraveled the details, most agree that personality is as important as intelligence, and maybe more so, for some aspects of performance.

Most psychologists base personality research on the "Big Five" classification of personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience. The classification isn't perfect, but it provides a good foundation for studying broad effects of personality. Some researchers now contend that they have found the universal personality trait that predicts job success. Others argue that the relationship between personality and job success is much more complicated and shouldn't be condensed into a have and have­ not scenario.

Conscientiousness - the key to success

One research camp argues that "conscientiousness" -- being responsible, dependable, organized and persistent -- is generic to success. "It seems to predict job performance for any job you can think of," according to Michael Mount, a psychologist at the University of Iowa. Dr. Mount and his colleagues analyzed 117... (295 of 1181 words)

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