Agreeable people tend to be kinder and more accommodating in social situations, which you might think could add to their success in life. However, we’ve already noted that one disadvantage of agreeableness is potentially lower earnings. We’re not sure why this is so, but agreeable individuals may be less aggressive in negotiating starting salaries and pay raises.
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So, while employers want agreeable employees, agreeable employees are not better job performers, and they are less successful in their careers. We might explain this apparent contradiction by noting that employer’s value agreeable employees for other reasons: They are more pleasant to be around, and they may help others in ways that aren’t reflected in their job performance. Most evidence suggests that agreeable people like agreeable people, which you might expect because people like those who are similar to themselves.
A research study conducted on CEO and results revealed that this contradiction. Researchers studied the personalities and abilities of 316 CEO candidates for companies involved in merger and venture capital transactions. They found that what gets a CEO candidate hired is not what makes him or her effective. Specifically, CEO candidates who were rated high on “nice” traits such as respecting others, developing others, and teamwork were more likely to be hired. However, these same characteristics—especially teamwork and respecting others for venture capital CEOs—made the organizations they led less successful.