Welcome to Mosaic‘s feature with specialist contributions from Rob Williams Assessment.

Welcome to our Big Five Remote Coaching tips and explanation of the Personality Big Five.

Personality Big Five Factors

Personality is at the heart of how we deal with the world. As individuals, our unique personalities are powerful predictors of the way in which we respond across a broad range of different situations.

In short, personality can be seen as the underlying pattern of thoughts and feelings that influence what we are likely to do. For personality to affect our behaviour in this way, it must also be consistent and stable, although obviously it will be influenced by context and culture.

At a theoretical level psychologists have studied personality for over 100 years. Comparatively recently, over the last 50 years, a consensus has emerged and there is now agreement that the Five-Factor Model (FFM) represents the best structure for human personality.

Psychologists agree that these five factors capture the most important and basic personality differences between people; or as some researchers describe them, they are the ‘primary colours’ of personality (Trickey & Hogan, 1998).

Big Five Openness-to-Experience personality traits

  • Playful, curious and imaginative
  • Creative and open-minded
  • Seeks novelty and forward-looking / visionary.

High Big Five Openness-to-Experience

Creative, imaginative and complex.

Philosophical and intuitive.

  • Individuals who are high in Openness seek out innovation and change.
  • Typically, find inspiration from the switch to remote work.
  • They will be curious about new procedures and wonder about outcomes. Seek their feedback.
  • The changed perspective of switching to a distributed workforce can inspire them to generate ideas and enjoy what is essentially a mental refresh.

Low Big Five Openness-to-Experience

  • Less creative
  • It May be short-term focussed
  • Sensual
  • Typically, prefer the tried-and-tested, so there’s value in maintaining workday routines.
  • If you have an all-hands staff meeting every Friday morning at 10:00, hold the same meeting remotely at the same time.
  • A lack of physical proximity doesn’t mean that workers should slip into communication isolation.
  • Methods to set a virtual meeting should be easy and widely understood, as should the ability to solicit feedback or ask a question.

Personality Big Five Remote Coaching tips

Openness to Experience

Openness is related to a person’s in-built values system. People who are ‘open to experience’ are tolerant and accepting and see everyone as equally deserving of justice and equality (Douglas, Bore & Munro, 2016).


Conscientious people respect orderliness, duty, achievement, and self-discipline, and are concerned with increasing their competence. The factor is also related to conformity and tradition (Roccas, Sagiv, Schwartz & Knafo, 2002).

With respect to the rest of the Big Five, Conscientiousness correlates weakly (and negatively) with Neuroticism and Agreeableness. It does not appear to be related to the other factors (Van der Linden, Te Nijenhuis & Bakker, 2010).


Extroverts are often assertive, active and sociable. They can also be hedonistic and actively seek excitement and pleasure.

with Openness to Experience (Van der Linden, Te Nijenhuis & Bakker, 2010).


Those with Agreeable personalities place an emphasis on compassion, generosity and trust. They are less concerned with power, achievement or ego-related activities.

Generally high levels of agreeableness are related to good life adjustment (Soldz & Vaillant, 1999).

Personality Big Five Remote Coaching tips


Neuroticism, or the lack of Emotional Stability over time, is negatively related to:

  • Self-esteem, self-efficacy and internal locus of control (Judge, Erez, Bono, & Thoresen, 2002).

The reactive and impulsive aspects of Neuroticism relate positively to:

  • Hedonism (pleasure without responsibility) and negatively to benevolence and conformity (Roccas, Sagiv, Schwartz, & Knafo, 2002).

Long term research has demonstrated that Neuroticism is related:

  • Inability to cease using alcohol or drugs, being unable to adjust to problems
  • Mental health issues (Soldz & Vaillant, 1999.)
  • With regard to the other factors, Neuroticism correlates weakly and negatively with Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. It also has a weak negative relationship with Extraversion and Openness (Van der Linden, Te Nijenhuis & Bakker, 2010).

Big 5 Conscientiousness personality traits

Orderly, committed and confident

Achievement-oriented, reliable and self-disciplined.

High Big Five Conscientiousness

  • Careful, organised, neat and orderly
  • Systematic, precise, and practical
  • Individuals who are high in Conscientiousness keep up with deadlines, pride themselves on producing error-free work, and have high expectations of themselves and others.
  • When left behind closed doors, these High C workers will continue to self-police.
  • Be aware that a downside of high Conscientiousness is perfectionism.
  • When unobserved, these members of your team are prone to obsessing over details.
  • They may need more short-term deadlines than usual to keep them moving along.

Low Big Five Conscientiousness

  • Risk-taking and experimenting
  • Disorganised and disorderly
  • Careless and absent-minded.
  • Meanwhile, these employees may be discovering that no one quite knows if they’re starting work later than usual or have lost focus.
  • You can’t maintain eyes on everyone all the time, and you shouldn’t try to do so.
  • Encourage regular dialogue on a messaging platform, and consider having more frequent but shorter meetings distributed across the workday.
  • But don’t forget to treat people like grownups — try worrying less these days about butts in seats and more about getting the work done.
  • Some thinkers do well working at odd hours and in unconventional ways. Let that flow happen.

Big 5 Extraversion personality traits

Active, energetic, thrill-seeking,

Enthusiastic, assertive, interactive, friendly.

High Big Five Extraversion

  • Talkative, verbal and sociable
  • Outgoing, dominant and assertive.
  • These people tend to be high in energy, and they like the stimulation of a shared workplace. Consider allowing low-risk personnel to work in pairs if they wish.
  • Suggest that your team members vary where they set up their workspace to provide some variety, including backyards and balconies.
  • Spontaneous one-on-ones and team meetings should continue via your preferred platform. Allow time for a bit of small talk after everyone dials in.
  • It’s the social connections and water-cooler talk that have gone missing, and many are likely craving those old familiar connections.

Low Big Five Extraversion

  • Shy, quiet and withdrawn,
  • Untalkative and inhibited
  • Some joke that the age of global pandemics means that the shy and reclusive people of the world are winning.
  • All jokes aside, people who are lower in Extraversion tend to be more risk-averse, so the current global state may be producing stress in these individuals.
  • While you can’t claim to predict the future in a world of unknowns, you can help bring stability to the workforce.
  • Communicate daily plans. Send your team “How’s it going?” messages. And consider reminding workers of the value of self-care.

Personality Big Five Remote Coaching tips

Big 5 Agreeableness personality traits

Accommodating, loyal/trusting, compassionate, altruistic, steady, cooperative, forgiving/tolerant.

High Big Five Agreeableness

  • Sympathetic, kind and warm
  • Understanding, sincere and considerate
  • Being high in Agreeableness means that one is plugged into other people and motivated to help, guide, and support others.
  • For remote teams, advise these employees to limit the news they consume during the workday, lest their own mental health take a series of hits.
  • Appreciate the value of comic relief, and think about team spirit.

Low Big Five Agreeableness

  • Self-centred, non-conformist and unsympathetic
  • Unkind, harsh and insincere.
  • Remote communication can be misinterpreted more easily than face-to-face exchanges.
  • humorous intent can be hard to discern from written text, even with the benefit of emojis.
  • People can start and stop communication on online platforms, unlike in-person discussions.
  • Individuals who are low in Agreeableness are less inclined to give others the benefit of the doubt and may be prone to disagreements.
  • Daily team meetings, even just for everyone to check-in, may help bring concerns to light.

Big 5 Emotional Stability personality traits

Calm, even-tempered and positive

Resilient and robust

Deliberate, easy-going and regulated.

High Big Five Emotional Stability

Emotionally stable and relaxed

Optimistic and unemotional

  • People who are high in Emotional Stability are well suited to dealing with bad news.
  • Their own moods remain fairly steady and they don’t shut down when the going gets tough.
  • his is an asset when you need folks to be the “calm in the storm.”
  • They are a good match for providing reassuring communication to others.

Low Big Five Emotional Stability

Anxious and a little neurotic

Nervous, tense and fidgety.

  • People who are lower here are more reactive.
  • Do what you can to clear out some extra space for their wellness.
  • An unexpected office shutdown is not the time to deliver employee feedback, for example, or push deadlines forward.
  • Delay introducing staff to a new challenge, like taking on an added role or implementing a new policy.
  • Keep it steady, and use ongoing communication to reassure your workers as much as you can.

personality type tips

Personality Big Five Remote Coaching tips

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