A trend of our time–distance education–has proved to be a difficult challenge for some students. Psychologists believe that this is a matter of a lack of the social and psychological characteristics necessary for online work. What are these characteristics, and how can you improve them in yourself? We spoke with the Head of the Department of General Psychology, Psychodiagnostics, and Counselling of the SUSU School of Medical Biology, Candidate of Sciences (Psychology) Svetlana Morozova.
– What are socio-psychological personality traits?
– Socio-psychological personality traits are a set of certain qualities that characterize, firstly, a person's social abilities, and secondly, the social behaviour and position of an individual, i.e. their activity, responsibility, leaning towards help and cooperation.
We can say that socio-psychological personality traits are those properties that are formed in real social groups, in common activities with other people, and in communication with them. They are part of a person's character. Specialists actively use the concept of "socio-psychological properties", but it should be noted that there is still a methodological problem and ambiguity of its use.
– Which characteristics are distinguished by specialists?
– Psychologists highlight such properties as social feelings, value orientations, social attitudes, pretensions, stereotypes, and worldview. Depending on, for example, professional groups, there are different requirements for this set of properties. For example, psychologists need sociability, rapport; general intellect, stress resistance, which supports the style of communication; dynamism and flexibility; emotional restraint and tolerance, the ability to restrain oneself, hide involuntary evaluations and emotional reactions; a high level of general culture of behaviour, and professional tact. For managers—organizational qualities, purposefulness, flexibility, efficiency, perseverance, discipline, initiative, and communicative and intellectual qualities.
– How can you determine which properties a person has?
– You can learn more about the socio-psychological properties of your personality with the help of special diagnostics. Without it, it is impossible to arrive at an accurate conclusion; psychologists with professional experience can only assume what kind of person is sat before them: sociable, emotional, withdrawn, and so on.
If we remember that socio-psychological properties are a component of the character, we can add that they are determined by a person's attitude towards other people (collectivity, sensitivity), to his or her work (diligence, conscientiousness, initiative), to things (carefulness, thriftiness) and, finally, to himself or herself (self-criticism, self-esteem).
Photo: Head of the Department of General Psychology, Psychodiagnostics, and Counselling of the School of Medical Biology, Candidate of Sciences (Psychology) Svetlana Morozova.
– Can you identify your own socio-psychological characteristics?
– Personality diagnostics should be based on clear and precise ideas about the subject and object of study. I do not advise you to study yourself through websites with free access to psychological tests. This is like practicing self-treatment and making a diagnosis without a doctor. But self education is a worthy hobby: to develop personal and professional qualities in yourself, to find personality qualities that you would like to strengthen, multiply, develop in your character.
– Why is it important to know the socio-psychological characteristics of your personality?
– Knowledge of our self helps us adapt to society and achieve our goals productively. Understanding our own psychology makes people harmonious in life. Thus, for example, in one study we received data that such socio-psychological characteristics as externality, low level of communicative and organizational abilities, and authoritarian style of behaviour in relationships with others hinder successful professional activity. By working on personality traits, we can make our own fulfilment in different spheres of life more effective.
– How are these characteristics related to the ability to work and study online?
– Based on our experimental data, we can explain which characteristics are important for online work. First of all: confidence, integrity, focus on teamwork, high motivation, personal interest, and the emotions gained from work.
– Does this mean that people, who do not have these characteristics, do worse in online work? What should they do, if so?
– It is true that low motivation prevents people from achieving positive results, and not only in online work. What can they do? Their motivation and responsibility must be improved, or they will remain low-performing, unproductive workers and will subsequently seek a new job.
– Is it possible to foster the necessary qualities for online work in yourself?
– Of course. There are no qualities in the human personality that cannot be changed at all. As long as a person is alive, s/he is developing and, therefore, changing. Here, everything depends on the individual—are they fostering these qualities or not.
Speaking of the unique nature of the individual, I’d like to mention that a person’s personality is not only characterized by what they do, but how they do it. Two people can complete the same task and while aiming for the same goal. But one might work with enthusiasm, put everything into work, while the other might work with integrity, but do so apathetically, guided only by their cold sense of duty.
An aphorism by an unknown author speaks about a person's ability to develop their character and to change their destiny by doing so: "Sow a thought, reap a deed. Sow a deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny".