On (dis)agreeableness: Whose you?

Agreeableness is a personality trait manifesting itself in individual behavioral characteristics that are perceived as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm, and considerate…

People who score high on this dimension are empathetic and altruistic, while a low agreeableness score relates to selfish behavior and a lack of empathy…

Agreeableness is considered to be a superordinate trait, meaning that it is a grouping of personality sub-traits that cluster together…[these are]: trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tender-mindedness.

Thanks Wikipedia.

What a list! A who’s who of the personality traits that make you a good person. Who wouldn’t want to be agreeable?

I’m a sucker for being agreeable. I want to be liked, to be perceived as kind, easy going, considerate, warm. Because these are good things to be.

They are. But they’re not values – they’re a generally-good-way-to-be with people that emerge out of your values. But when things come along that are in conflict with your values (that is, at the only times when you really need to break a sweat to live those values out), agreeableness is rubbish. People-pleasing goes from being silly to being wrong. If you’re feeling uncomfortable because you can’t say or do the right thing and have people like you, do the right thing and learn to enjoy the discomfort in the same way that you enjoy the discomfort of exercise. Lean into it.

By all means, look for the right moment. Be reasonable. Be diplomatic. Pursue change by indirect means. But DO NOT BE AGREEABLE in the face of…

  • Genocide (that’s an easy one);
  • Avoidable catastrophe;
  • Mismanagement;
  • Consistent negligence;
  • Damaging short-termism;
  • Discrimination;
  • Mediocrity;
  • Misuse of donors’ money;
  • Obvious and purposeless inefficiency;
  • People who want you to do things that take you away from what you’re here for;
  • Laziness without cause;
  • Poor planning;
  • Slipshod execution;
  • Stupid ideas that cause damage;
  • People who drag others down;
  • Needless destruction;
  • Over-sensitivity;
  • Obstacles that prevent you from serving those you seek to serve.

Choose: Whose you will you be?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...