Dr. Wade Rowatt, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University, said the honesty-humility personality trait was a unique predictor of job performance.
"Researchers already know that integrity can predict job performance and what we are saying here is that humility and honesty are also major components in that," Rowatt said in a statement.
"This study shows that those who possess the combination of honesty and humility -- those who exhibit high levels of fairness, greed-avoidance, sincerity and modesty -- have better job performance. In fact, we found that humility and honesty not only correspond with job performance, but it predicted job performance above and beyond any of the other five personality traits like agreeableness and conscientiousness."
Rowatt, colleagues and a business consultant surveyed 269 employees in 25 different companies across 20 different states who work in positions that provide healthcare for challenging clients.
Supervisors rated the job performance of each employee on 35 different job skills and described the kind of customer with whom the employee worked.
The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found those who self-reported more honesty and humility scored significantly higher by their supervisors for their job performance.
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