8 Personality Types: A Deeper Look at Overachievers



personality profile of OverachieversIt has been a month since we revealed the eight most common personality types found via the Hogan suite of assessments. We have already taken an in-depth look at Rebels, Marketers, Proletarians, and Congenials. This week, we continue our dive into these personality types by closely examining the personality profile of Overachievers.

Overachievers make up approximately 17% of the working population. Their Hogan profile is highlighted by slightly above average scores on Altruism, Tradition, and Security on the MVPI but below-average scores on Recognition and Hedonism; very high scores on Adjustment, Ambition, and Prudence on the HPI; low scores on the Moving Against cluster on the HDS, with average scores on Bold and above-average scores on Diligent and Dutiful. See Figure 1 below for the full profile.

Figure 1: Hogan personality profile of Overachievers

personality profile of Overachievers

The Reputation of Overacheivers

We had eight Hogan consultants with a combined 82 years of experience provide independent written interpretations of the Overachievers profile shown in Figure 1. Some of the words our experts most frequently used to describe Overachievers were “willing,” “resilient,” “helping,” “dominant,” “organized,” “perfectionistic,” and most notably “high standards.” Additionally, we examined the workplace reputations of Overachievers by drawing on Hogan 360° data gathered with Hogan distributor Peter Berry Consultancy.

Colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates said Overachievers are calm and even-tempered, treat people with respect, manage emotions maturely, are polite, and are never rude or abrasive. Overachievers’ colleagues also said that Overachievers are not particularly good at coming up with new ideas and may lack industry experience and insight. Overachievers are seen by their coworkers as emotionally stable, disciplined, and respectful of authority.

Lastly, our job performance archive also tells us that Overachievers are seen as skilled at negotiating, focusing on quality and customers, leading others, relationship building, and modeling behavior for others. Overachievers were rated the second highest-performing group overall by their supervisors, just behind Congenials. To summarize, Overachievers are interested in career success, resilient to stress, and focused on results, but insistent on playing fairly and strictly adhering to the rules.

Common Careers for Overachievers

Overachievers prefer careers in which they can work hard and demonstrate their value for the company. They like to compete and take pride in their work. They desperately want to be seen as doing a good job, though they do not expect public recognition for it. Our data show Overachievers are overrepresented in customer support and operations and trade jobs.

They are also overrepresented in individual contributor roles (as opposed to leadership roles), suggesting they prefer work that gives them complete control over their performance and outcomes. Despite this, Overachievers rarely show up as entrepreneurs, preferring the security of more traditional jobs. In popular media, characters such as Captain America (Marvel), Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation), and Tiana (Disney’s The Princess and the Frog) are prototypical Overachievers — hardworking, dedicated, and eager to please.

Advice for Overachievers

If you are an Overachiever, you should recognize that others might not hold themselves to the same high standards for performance that you expect of yourself. Your manager will see you as a model employee, and you will probably be seen as a high performer. However, some of your coworkers might see you as a teacher’s pet or a brownnoser, always setting the bar higher for everyone else. If your boss is astute, you might also be seen as a threat to his or her job, so you might want to be careful about how you display your ambitions. Finally, be aware that your tendency to play by the rules might result in you being overlooked for promotions by people who play politics better, despite your results.

In leadership roles, you tend to overcontrol projects and micromanage your staff. Employee performance often falls short of your standards. You might find yourself thinking, “I could have done a better job on that project than them.” Be wary of these thoughts because you will not have the time and resources to ensure everything meets your high standards. If you submit to these thoughts, you will subject yourself to extremely long hours and burnout. You will need to trust your employees to get the job done if you want to succeed.

How to Deal with Overachievers

If your boss is an Overachiever, recognize that he or she will constantly raise the bar and push you for better results. You might find that, no matter how hard you work, your boss always has some criticism for how you could have done better. Your boss will have no tolerance for shortcuts or efforts to skirt the rules. You will need to prove to your boss that you can be trusted to complete projects without oversight. Otherwise, your boss will insist on reviewing everything you do, holding up progress.

If any of your employees have the personality profile of an Overachiever, realize that these people are likely your most productive employees. They rarely complain, never break the rules, and perform to very high standards. However, Overachievers tend to take on too much and try to do everything perfectly. You should be sure your Overachiever doesn’t spend too much effort on trivial details and burn out. You should also watch how your team reacts to Overachievers who might make them look like poor performers by comparison. Finally, you will need to help your Overachievers develop for leadership roles by teaching them about corporate politics and how to avoid micromanaging.

Want to learn more about personality? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Personality Tests