3 Issues Turbulent Personality Types Face When Trying to Fit In at Work

Kyle 1 month ago 3 comments

Attention all passengers, we’re expecting some turbulence ahead…

Are you a Turbulent personality type? See for yourself. If so, I’d like to talk to you about how your Turbulent Identity can affect your work life. For example, anyone may experience anxiety, but Turbulent personality types worry more easily and often than their Assertive cousins do. (Maybe more intensely, too, but that’s hard to measure.)

Ostensibly, workplace success is based mainly on performance, but how people feel about you also plays a part. Fitting in can be important. I don’t need to harp on that, though, because we Turbulent personality types (yes, I’m right there with you) are usually quite concerned with what people think of us, however we may show it.

Fitting in doesn’t necessarily mean being similar to others in your workplace. It’s more about achieving harmonious, cooperative integration. Being a unique piece of the puzzle is awesome.

The Turbulent trait isn’t always expressed the same way by different people, because our other traits also influence our behavior. We’re like a stew of interacting ingredients. In certain ways, Turbulence makes your other traits more dynamic (and sometimes erratic), but they each retain an essential flavor. Mmm, Turbulent stew.

For example, a Turbulent Adventurer (ISFP-T) might withdraw into a worried frenzy when criticized at work. A Turbulent Debater (ENTP-T) might burst into a defensive argument. Both can be said to be “reactive to criticism,” but their other personality traits shape their responses differently.

So as we cover some broad, statistically likely Turbulent behaviors here today, I invite you to consider your individual expression. Statistics about your personality type offer a valuable prompt for you to examine yourself, but what you find will be unique.

Let’s go over some stuff that’s very common for Turbulent types and relates to fitting in at work.

3 Bumpy Turbulent Tendencies

1. Aversion to Rejection

The human desire for belonging is universal, but Turbulent personalities are usually much more sensitive to rejection. We’re more likely to worry about it, anticipate it unreasonably, do questionable things to avoid it, and get upset when it happens. This is a very likely aspect of Turbulent Identities.

I’m not sure about you, but when I think of this like a mechanism that’s built into my personality, it makes me feel better. Do you feel bad for a fit of sneezing, even though it may be unpleasant or troublesome? I don’t, because it’s just an understandable reaction, and there are reasonable ways to address it.

A neti pot may not relieve aversion to rejection, but just being aware of your reactions will help you act wisely. There’s no need for self-judgment, just a natural response that you handle as best you can. That’s important at work, where you may not have as much behavioral leeway as you do in your personal life. Overreaction probably won’t help you, professionally.

You can use our “Rejection” survey to get some perspective on yourself. Being conscious of your tendencies will help you express them in ways that don’t cause problems at work. This will ultimately help you fit in – and prosper.

2. Tending to Apologize

Being willing to apologize is healthy, but Turbulent personalities may take it too far. In our desire to fit in, we may apologize for things that aren’t our responsibility or use apologies to try to allay other people’s reactions – whether they’re reasonable or not. Heck, apologies might be the first thing out of our mouths a bit too often.

“Sorry to bug you about [something totally normal and appropriate]…”


Constantly apologizing over nothing (or almost nothing) can make you seem insecure or like you don’t know what you’re doing. Putting yourself down is unfair to you, and unnecessary.

Projecting competence and confidence is usually a good idea at work, and apologizing at the right time – but not all the time – helps you maintain a positive self-image and reputation. Being willing to admit to mistakes shows your strength and wisdom, but it’s best kept for when you’ve truly transgressed.

Another thing you can keep in mind is that at work, many people value having things fixed or improved even more than receiving an apology. (I know I would.) Maybe your apology should consume less time and energy than working on a solution. At the end of the day, your accomplishments will probably outweigh your mistakes.

Take a minute to review your behavior using our “Apologies” survey. It’ll give you some valuable perspective to help you decide if you want to make any adjustments. (I hate to admit it, but I took that survey for the first time as I wrote this. My results really surprised me. No, I won’t share them. Sorry.)

Oh, and if you feel bad about something that isn’t your fault, consider offering understanding and assistance instead of an apology.

3. Pressure to Conform

Turbulent types are sensitive to perceived external messages that they should act, think, or feel like others do. Their responses to that pressure can differ, though, likely falling into two broad categories: trying to conform or rebel.

I submit that there’s nothing wrong with adapting to your work environment. It’s completely normal to have a “work persona” that showcases certain elements of your personality more than others. But on the other hand, fakery that goes against your core nature can be stressful, and that’s unhealthy in the long run.

Too much conformity can also stifle your creativity, which may limit your career. Speaking up when you have a different idea or perspective is a great way to add your unique abilities to the common goal. You might inspire your team – or save them from a groupthink blunder.

Likewise, too much rebellion can create friction in the workplace that interferes with your success. If you’re too focused on resisting being controlled, you might miss a lot of opportunities to learn, evolve, and cooperate productively. It also runs the risk of breeding negative emotional states that get in the way of clear thought, creativity, and communication.

Either way, you might consider a shift in your approach to fitting in. Instead of trying to conform or rebel, focus on achieving your workplace objectives in whatever way works best. Making excellent progress is probably more important at work than showing how you’re similar to or distinct from others.

It’s true that most people are more comfortable around those who are like them, but proving yourself to be a source of great things can help you establish a strong, valued position without marginalizing or weaponizing who you are. People will appreciate and respect you for making positive contributions in your own unique way.

Our “Conformity” survey can help you review your habits in this area. You’ll be able to see where you stand relative to all personality types, including others like you.

An Uplifting Force

The message here isn’t that Turbulence is a problem. There are plenty of research statistics that paint a positive picture of these personalities. The upsides of the Turbulent trait just aren’t what I chose to address in this article, but I do want to end on a positive note.

So first I’ll point out that the three behaviors we’ve looked at – aversion to rejection, tending to apologize, and feeling pressured to conform – aren’t necessarily bad. Think of these behaviors as motivations. They’re aspects of the very human desire to fit in, and you can pursue that goal in ways that respect yourself and your personality traits.

Turbulence can give you drive. If you put your Turbulent energy into achieving positive outcomes more than preventing negative ones, the trait will serve you extremely well. I hope the ideas and tools I’ve shared here will help you do that.

Second, I’ll offer an inspiring research tidbit: in our surveys, Turbulent types score higher in overall unselfishness. That attitude can help you fit in at work, because kindness and generosity breeze past other people’s insecurity or judgment. (Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look out for yourself. Being unselfish doesn’t mean being a pushover or a doormat.)

Coupling unselfishness with your professional skills and drive to excel is a great way to fit in and create professional success. And, hey, don’t be afraid to share this article with others so they can better understand you. You and I know what it’s like to be Turbulent, but not everybody does.

Further Reading

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