Agreeableness may be one of the best personality traits a person can possess, but in its truest form, it’s not as common as you may think. As one of the big five personality traits, agreeableness is the tendency to be cooperative, agreeable, easy-going and to put the needs of others first.
Individuals who possess the personality trait of agreeableness tend to be naturally empathetic and compassionate. They’re often quite selfless. Their motivation comes from serving and getting along with others. In fact, getting along with others is a prime motivator for them.
It’s common to refer to an agreeable person as a ‘people pleaser’. They often have a strong desire to be liked, but they also enjoy acting as a peacekeeper among their groups.
Agreeable people are generally quite altruistic, cooperative, modest, straightforward, sympathetic, and trustworthy.
People who lack the trait of agreeableness tend to be combative, challenge others and love to argue. Agreeable people, however, want everyone to get along. They’re more likely to pick their battles carefully, and they’re less likely to get angry about every little thing that bothers them.
Have you ever come across a highly satisfied, people-oriented individual who was everyone’s favourite person? Do you wonder what their secret is? The answer is likely the trait of agreeableness.
Highly agreeable individuals are some of the most content people on the face of the planet. They hardly complain or show jealousy. In fact, they believe in maintaining cordial relationships on both professional and personal levels and are often loved in every group.
Now, one might question why being agreeable matters so much. While all personality traits have their pros and cons, agreeableness is one of the most sought-after character traits because of these reasons:
Agreeable People Have a Better Life Trajectory
Did you know those agreeable children are more likely to grow up into trusting, altruistic, empathetic, and honest individuals? In contrast, their more combative counterparts are often competitive, selfish, neurotic, and manipulative.
Agreeableness can play a role in one’s ability to have a good time sober, and agreeable people could be less likely to abuse substances.
As per an NCBI study, “High-agreeable adulthood types reported less alcoholism and depression, fewer arrests, and more career stability than did low-agreeable adulthood types.”
The study also discusses how childhood agreeableness impacts individual academic performance, behaviour, and social competence 10 years down the line. It revealed that agreeable adolescents often showcase higher job and marital satisfaction whereas less agreeable people end up with higher rates of divorce and lower work stability.
We all have that one colleague who’s adored by everyone and is always busy putting out office fires and building team morale. That’s a classic example of an agreeable adolescent who is spreading joy and kindness as a likeable adult.
They Are Team Players and Often Have a Successful Career
Several past studies have showcased how agreeableness is one of the strongest personality predictors when it comes to team performance. One such study published by SAGE indicates that “agreeableness affects performance through communication and cohesion and that communication precedes cohesion in time.”
Thus, agreeable workers often tend to be the best team players since they have mastered the skill of building harmonious relationships and resolving conflicts through the act of communication.
Are you still questioning the intensity of agreeableness at this point? Is it because you are often stuck in terrible situations because you couldn’t say, “No”?
Well, a research study entitled, Is being agreeable a key to success or failure in the labour market? suggests otherwise and indicates that agreeable workers perform great at service-oriented jobs.
The research study states that agreeableness may act as part of a skillset that directly improves job performance and productivity in the workplace. This makes agreeable individuals an attractive asset for all organizations.
They are Natural Leaders
A never-ending debate on whether type-A individuals are more likely to end up in powerful positions has been a psychological discussion for ages. However, a study by PNAS questions whether or not being a jerk helps people attain power.
It reflects that though “disagreeable individuals were intimidating, which would have elevated their power, but they also had poorer interpersonal relationships at work, which offset any possible power advantage their behaviour might have provided.”
For instance, how likely are you to work well with a boss who’s a brute or bully over an understanding, trustworthy, and team-oriented manager?
This indicates that combativeness may initially bring in a sense of power by generating fear in people, but considerate, cooperative, and agreeable individuals are bound to experience a win in the long run.
Agreeableness Helps Individuals Enjoy Happy Marriages
Does empathy come naturally to you? Would you say you have a balanced relationship? Or, does your partner often complain about you not understanding them or starting too many arguments?
A study researched the lives of several heterosexual married couples and found that “actual personality similarity in agreeableness was positively correlated with marital satisfaction.” Since agreeable individuals are compassionate peacemakers who always prioritize others, they are most likely to be indulged in long, healthy relationships.
Agreeable people with a non-judgmental attitude, problem-solving ability, and appropriate communication skills pave the way for a happy marriage. On the contrary, their antagonistic opponents are often found to be ill-tempered, ego-centric individuals who end up having issues in their marital lives.
It’s undeniable that agreeableness helps you get along with your partner and maintain harmony in the home.
Interestingly, as per the Oxford Handbook of the Five-Factor Model, women with higher agreeableness levels are more compatible with and highly likely to marry agreeable spouses.
Agreeableness and Conscientiousness: A Great Combo
Be it a group setting or a workplace, agreeableness is always a desirable personality trait. If this positive attribute is not managed correctly, highly agreeable individuals can end up being the victims of other people’s selfishness. In other words, agreeable people have to be careful not to get taken advantage of. However, if you are conscientious, you are more likely to remember other people’s misgivings and take appropriate action to ensure they’re not repeated. Conscientious and agreeable people will be diligent enough to ensure they’re not walked over.
If you are an agreeable individual, your mind is organically sensitive towards the needs of others. This understanding of people, combined with the extraordinary organizational skills of a conscientious individual, makes a great combination that everyone looks up to.
An amalgamation of agreeableness with conscientiousness can help you climb the corporate ladder, as well as be a better spouse, partner, family member and friend.
The good news is that these personality traits can be acquired with experience, time and practice. So, approach this with an open mind and embrace different aspects of your personality while you develop traits you’d like to exhibit more of.
Is Agreeableness a Genetic Personality Trait?
One of the most common questions associated with agreeableness is: Is it genetic?
Genetic factors account for about 42% of agreeableness. While to some extent genes impact the influence of various traits in a human being, the majority of it is governed by one’s personal experiences and upbringing. For instance, a spiritual believer or someone who has experienced adversities is more likely to be agreeable. This suggests that education, experience, and age are some of the factors that drive the levels of agreeableness in a person.
Agreeableness could be written in your DNA, but with the wrong upbringing, you might not end up exhibiting this trait.
If agreeableness is in your DNA, and you had a healthy upbringing, you could end up being an extraordinarily agreeable person.