Tag Archives: Perseverance

Perseverance Negatively Correlated with Counterproductive Work Behaviours

New research shows that perseverance might be a key character strength when it comes to counterproductive work behaviours. The researchers were interested in finding the character strengths that were most correlated with work performance and counterproductive work behaviours (things like absenteeism, lateness, incivility, etc.). As the title of this post suggests, the researchers found that perseverance is the character strength that is most negatively correlated with counterproductive work behaviours. Meaning, when a person is found to have a lot of perseverance, they’re also found to have a lower level of counterproductive work behaviours.

In thinking about these findings, the thing I most wonder about is when we draw out perseverance to an unhealthy form. That is, of course, it’s great when employees are driven and they persevere, but what happens when they “go over the edge” in their pursuits? I suspect that as we get employees who persevere to these great lengths, it should no longer be thought of as a character strength. And similarly, the negative correlation with counterproductive work behaviours might not hold. In fact, I’d expect that we’d then see a positive correlation with counterproductive work behaviours. Meaning, when the perseverance becomes pathological, I’d expect the employee to exhibit some counterproductive work behaviours. Of course, this is all speculation, so it’d be interesting to see someone test for this in future iterations of this research.

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The researchers of this study also tied in studies on the Big 5, specifically as it relates to conscientiousness. It seems pretty well-known that conscientiousness is the characteristic of the Big 5 that is mostly closely correlated with work success and so the researchers of this study made mention of the fact that perseverance is shown to be highly correlated with conscientiousness. If we draw this out a little, the implication is that employees who demonstrate perseverance as one of their character strengths should also show signs of higher work performance (through their expected Big 5 personality trait of conscientiousness).

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I suspect that research like this will give folks in HR something else to look for when recruiting new employees. There was already information out there about conscientiousness, but now they can also look for candidates who demonstrate a higher degree of perseverance. Maybe when contacting their references, the recruiter can ask about whether the candidate has demonstrated (or how the candidate has demonstrated) perseverance in their work.

ResearchBlogging.orgLittman-Ovadia, H., & Lavy, S. (2015). Going the Extra Mile: Perseverance as a Key Character Strength at Work Journal of Career Assessment DOI: 10.1177/1069072715580322

Thirty-Five Years Later… A Dream is Realized

In 1978, a young woman stood on the shores of Havana, Cuba, and set out to fulfill her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida — a 110-mile journey that includes sharks and plenty of jellyfish. The young woman wouldn’t succeed in her attempt that day. Nor would she succeed on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th tries. In 1978, there’s no way that she could have known that she wouldn’t have succeeded that day or that she wouldn’t have succeeded on three subsequent tries. Yesterday, however, on her 5th try, Diana Nyad successfully swam from Havana to Key West.

By now, no doubt, you would have heard of this incredible story. A triumph of perseverance and dedication. She had a goal and she wasn’t going to let anything keep her from it. It’s absolutely incredible that she first began this goal over 35 (!) years ago. Many of you out there probably can’t remember the goals you set 10 years ago, much less 35!

One of the most striking things I found about this story was how much has changed. For instance, when Nyad first stepped into the water in Havana to achieve her goal, she probably wouldn’t have guessed that the ‘achievement’ wouldn’t have happened for 35 years. Nor would I imagine that she would have guessed that her name and her story would have been trending on Twitter (what’s that, by the way?) or something called the internet. 1978. In 1978, there wasn’t even a Commodore 64, yet!

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You’ve probably got some lofty goals. You probably hope to achieve them soon — great! Nyad’s story is a perfect example of why you needn’t give up on your dreams. If you’re looking for some inspiration, she’s certainly got a bucket full.

If you enjoyed this story, you’re probably also going to want to hear Nyad speak after she completes this 110-mile journey. You can see what she said on the last video at this link (Sorry, couldn’t embed it!)

Note: I thought I had embedded a video from ABC, but it turns out that the embedded code didn’t agree with WordPress. You can view the video that I tried to embed at the link above.