Behavioral Control is one of the major Big Five personality factors. It is often referred to as conscientiousness, and is a good predictor of successful performance in most jobs. This dimension is related to discipline, focus, tenacity and organization. People with high scores on this trait typically control their expressions of feeling and emotion and operate according to rules and structure. They often feel a keen sense of duty and responsibility. They are usually seen as disciplined, conscientious, tenacious, stubborn, inflexible and controlled. People with low scores here are often seen as spontaneous, adaptable, undisciplined, careless and not particularly detail-oriented. The subfactors associated with this overall dimension of Behavioral Control are presented below.
No personality trait is inherently positive or negative. There are potential upsides and downsides to scores at any point along the spectrum. The further towards the endpoints (high or low), the more pronounced and observable the behaviors associated with the particular trait under consideration are likely to be. People with exceptionally high or low scores are likely to demonstrate both the positives and negatives associated with the characteristic under study. People with high scores on the measure of Behavioral Control are likely to be conscientious, structured, detail oriented and dependable. They can also be rigid and inflexible. People with low scores tend to be more reactive, seat-of-the-pants and loosely structured.
Traits are the hardwiring and factory settings of personality. While we can’t change our personalities to any significant extent, we can learn new behaviors and skills. We can get better at most anything, given the appropriate goals and the insight, resources and motivation to achieve them. Below are some suggestions for people with high or low scores on this trait.
If you have a high score on the trait of Behavioral Control, people are likely to see you as conscientious and dependable but also as rigid and stubborn. Find ways to make allowances for people who may not be as structured, disciplined and procedure oriented. Loosen up when possible. If you have a low score on this factor, you may be spontaneous, flexible and creative, but others may also see you as undependable, distractible and flighty. Find ways to tighten up and to become more comfortable with schedules, details and procedures.
Regardless of your profile, remind yourself that others are wired differently and that they may be responding to the environment with very different experiences and reactions.