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    Jan 23, 2015    |   Psychometrics

Risky Business

Taking risks is easy for some people and incredibly difficult for others. Some of us try to avoid risk as much as possible while others embrace risk and take chances frequently; inevitably, too much of one style can have detrimental consequences. So what makes some individuals risk averse while others seem to thrive on it? Shawn Bakker – an I/O psychologist here at Psychometrics – says that risk is related to one’s tolerance for uncertainty, which we know can be influenced by our personality preferences. Keep the following in mind for yourself and others, especially if a change is imminent or ambiguity in the workplace is present:

NP’s – This type combination is the most willing of all to take risks. These individuals typically jump into new possibilities and are very willing to move in completely different directions, especially when hearing – or coming up with – new ideas. They also adapt quickly to changing circumstances since it gives them something new to explore.

SP’s – These individuals will take immediate risks and enjoy them if the situation demands it. However, long-term security and a stable foundation, such as keeping a home and working with familiar people, are important.

NJ’s – Intuitive-Judgers tend to take a mixed view of risks. They are willing to take a long-term risk if it fits with their vision of the future and is a high priority. However, if this vision is not clear, they are not likely to act. Action will only be initiated after careful analysis and preparation.

SJ’s – These individuals are typically the least willing of all the type combinations to take risks. Since they enjoy having orderly and decided lives, the ambiguity inherent in risks makes them uncomfortable. Wanting to stick with what works, SJ’s usually only take moderate risks after long periods of thought and preparation, and when their chance of success is almost guaranteed.

Understanding the relationship between risk and type can help in evaluating change, and helping others navigate uncertainty. For yourself, consider whether you might you be too pessimistic towards changes that require taking a risk. Or are you too optimistic and forget dangerous realities? Whatever your disposition toward risk, you may need to flex in order to consider important information and possible outcomes, before making an informed and mindful decision. Taking too many risks has its disadvantages, but never taking risks results in missed opportunities.

Filed under: Type Talk