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How Might You Respond to Job Stress?

I was recently asked whether personality assessments are a good predictor for how someone might respond to job stress. Would certain “types” be more prone to burnout?

My love for personality indicators started in high school when I discovered that I’m an Aquarius, which propelled me into studying psychology and working in HR. But let’s be real... personality assessments are only good for two things in the workplace:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Interpersonal Skills

 *Interpersonal skills are enhanced when we realize that the world is made up of diverse people, and that we all benefit from that diversity. Understanding this helps us plan communication more effectively and adjust our expectations appropriately.

 So, what is a good indicator of how a person may respond to work stress?

Capacity & Expectations

A person’s capacity and expectations of key workplace areas are the best indicator of how someone might respond to work stress. The key areas are:


Control (Agency & Autonomy)

Recognition & Rewards (Appreciation, Awards, Compensation, etc.)

Community & Relationships

Perceptions of Fairness

Values Alignment

When these areas align with capacity and expectations they result in engagement. When they are beyond the individual’s capacity and fail their expectations, they result in burnout. This doesn’t mean we need to alter the individual’s capacity (which is unrealistic in most cases).

Burnout can be prevented or remedied by addressing the key areas of the workplace. By ensuring each area meets the capacity of a normal worker, and by setting expectations with clear and timely communication. My mission is to teach leaders how to do this well, so that we have more individuals thriving in engagement and finding fulfillment in their success.


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