Sociability at Work: A Free Introduction to the 7 Work Traits

  • By Jordan B
  • April 2023

Sociability is the trait which measures a person’s need for affiliation and communication.

Sociability tells us why some people have a strong desire for interpersonal interaction, and why others may prefer more solitary, task-oriented activities. It tells us why some people have a very direct and candid communication style, while others are more energetic, animated, and gregarious.

More specifically, sociability quantifies a person’s need for interpersonal interaction and analytical thinking.

Those who are higher in sociability tend to be more energetic, externally focussed, and need to work around people. They search outside of themselves to meet their goals.

Those who are lower in sociability tend to be more introspective and comfortable being alone. They tend to search inside of themselves to meet their goals.

At work, people high in sociability (High S) are perceived as outgoing and extroverted. They tend to have an enthusiastic, persuasive communication style, and enjoy influencing others in their interpersonal and business interactions. They show enthusiasm for their ideas and the ideas of others and tend to be more optimistic in their disposition.

High S people often thrive in sales, managerial, and marketing roles.

At work, people lower in sociability (Low S) tend to be much more interested in technical, task-oriented activities, as opposed to communicative and relationship-oriented responsibilities. They are much more skeptical and take the time to analyze new ideas before they are willing to endorse them. They tend to be perceived as much more serious than those higher in sociability.

 Low S people often thrive in more task-oriented roles such as technical specialists, archivists, or accounting.

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The purpose of this article is to provide a sketch of the differences between High S and Low S people to illustrate the meaning of the sociability trait, one of the 7 factors measured by the TRAITS assessment. With a better understanding of the trait, you will begin to recognize behaviours in others that reflect high levels of relationship-focus or task-focus, and by extension, which roles they are best suited to.

High Sociability at Work

  • High S people tend to be more cheerful, optimistic, and animated. They are unlikely to have a negative disposition.
  • High S people genuinely love meeting and learning about new people. They enjoy participating in team activities and helping others feel involved.
  • High S people communicate in an enthusiastic and persuasive manner. They enjoy “selling” or generating enthusiasm for new ideas.
  • High S people enjoy small talk. They enjoy encouraging people to talk about themselves and are attentive to others.
  • High S people are interested in new ideas and are good at encouraging others to share their ideas.

Low Sociability at Work

  • Low S people tend to be more comfortable working alone on technical, analytical, and task-oriented responsibilities. They enjoy roles where performance is evaluated based on individual results and is not influenced by the performance of others.
  • Low S people are more skeptical and analytical of new ideas. While not necessarily dismissive, they do tend to take a thoughtful, analytical approach to evaluating new ideas.
  • Low S people tend to be more influenced by the merit of ideas than by persuasion.
  • Low S people tend to communicate in a more direct, factual manner. They prefer to explain rather than persuade.
  • Low S tend to prefer smaller, close-knit teams and friend groups as opposed to more frequent, more superficial interactions.
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In addition to predicting natural behaviours, an understanding of someone’s sociability (and other TRAITS) can also be used to understand their motivations.

High Sociability Motivators

  • Working environments that focus on communication rather than tasks.
  • Social approval, recognition, and an atmosphere of friendliness.
  • Opportunities to express their ideas and meet new people.
  • The opportunity to contribute to group efforts.
  • Status

Low Sociability Motivators

  • Working environments that give them the time and flexibility to concentrate on their tasks.
  • Assignments that they can complete on their own without input or supervision from others.
  • Opportunities for open, direct, and factual communication. Communication is not generally of a personal nature.
  • Technical, task-oriented assignments which require analytical thinking.
  • An understanding of why things are the way they are.

As with all factors measured by the TRAITS assessment, the higher (or lower) the level of sociability, the more intense the behaviour.

Those who are closer to the average on sociability can display a degree of both High S and Low S behaviour, but with considerably lower intensity than those who are strong in either direction.

People who are average in sociability often thrive in fields such as inside sales, law, teaching, training, nursing, or supervisory roles, which involve a mix of relationship-oriented and task-oriented behaviour.

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Those with stronger traits are more consistent in their behaviour but have their own sets of challenges.

High Sociability Risks and Challenges

  • May try to avoid technical, task-focussed responsibilities.
  • May be susceptible to flattery and surrender their position for group acceptance.
  • May be impulsive and support new ideas without giving them proper consideration.
  • May talk too much and favour their own ideas instead of listening effectively.

Low Sociability Risks and Challenges

  • May over-analyze situations and fail to make decisions.
  • May have difficulty compromising and can be seen as stubborn by others.
  • May be pessimistic and negative. Can be seen as cold by others.
  • May have difficulty communicating with others and be unwilling to initiate interactions.

When deciding the appropriate level of sociability necessary for a particular role, it is important to reflect on which behaviours are essential for the role, and which behaviours are detrimental to that role. We hope this blog has provided some helpful insights you can incorporate into your personnel decisions.

Interested in learning more? Check out the other guides in our free introduction to the 7 work traits.

  • Assertiveness: Directiveness, independence, willingness to take risks, and accountability.
  • Sociability: The need to communicate and influence others.
  • Patience: The need for established processes and predictability and one’s sense of urgency.
  • Detail Orientation: The need for structure, order, and accuracy.
  • Behvaioural Adaptability: Flexibility and versatility in behaviour across environments.
  • Emotional Control: The need to express one’s emotions.
  • Creativity: The need for innovation and ingenuity.

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