Nearly 4 million students are expected to earn higher education degrees in the U.S. this academic year, and many of them will be awarded this month. Research shows that those who obtain college degrees on average earn more and have greater job satisfaction. Now new research from Daniel Turban of the MU Trulaske College of Business, reveals another factor related to success—those who are the most outgoing and proactive also are most likely to have successful careers.
He assured that even if being extroverted and proactive doesn’t come naturally, individuals still can make conscious behavioral choices that will enhance chances for success.
The research was based on a sample of 333 employees with a diverse set of occupations. The average age was 30 and most had been with their companies for about five years. Career success was judged through measures such as income, promotions and career satisfaction. Personality results were based on surveys.
Turban said that behavior of the individual—not necessarily their inherent personality—is the most important factor. He noted that those looking to climb the ladder or just succeed in their current position should:
- Pursue social resources, including seeking mentoring relationships and establishing developmental networks
- Proactively attempt to learn the norms, values and goals of the organization
- Take responsibility for learning and development at work. Don’t wait to be invited to a committee or asked to engage in professional development—seek out these opportunities and volunteer for training or networking wherever possible
Turban’s co-authors are Timothy R. Moake of the University of Missouri; Sharon Yu-Hsien Wu of the U.S.-China Education and Culture Center; and Yu Ha Cheung of Hong Kong Baptist University. Their study, “Linking Extroversion and Proactive Personality to Career Success: The Role of Mentoring Received and Knowledge,” appeared in the Journal of Career
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