Your birth order gives you a unique view of the world around you and often influences the way you interact with others at work. Discussing birth orders and how they affect your relationships may seem like an unfair advantage or disadvantage, but the truth is we are all shaped by our upbringing to some degree. Birth order can influence the roles and positions we seek in our careers and affect the way we interact with others.
While you can’t change your birth order you can develop awareness and appreciate the differences that each person brings to the workplace. Birth orders do shed some light as to why others might be uncomfortable in taking a leadership position and the natural tendency for being a good negotiator.
Firstborns: It all starts with the firstborn child who is typically characterized as a serious, conscientious leader who is used to taking control and setting the stage for younger siblings to follow. To a firstborn taking over and giving out directions fits into the natural order at home where they were brought up with high expectations. Firstborns usually work with an intense focus and like to follow procedures with a conservative approach in the way they interact with others.
In the work setting, firstborns can bring with them an authoritarian style and can lean towards being controlling. As a firstborn, learning how to compromise and value the differences that others bring to the workplace is important.
Only child: They resemble firstborns in assuming leadership roles and are naturally independent. Because an only child has the entire attention of parents, they have a tendency to relate to adults and can be exposed to a higher vocabulary. An only child leader usually takes work seriously and has more self-confidence than the other birth orders that often shapes their unique view on creativity. Most only children excel at being independent and are super reliant.
As an only child, developing your view of teamwork and learning how expand your social side are important attributes in growing your career. Allowing yourself to learn from mistakes instead of personalizing them as failure can help you be more tolerant of others in the workplace.
Middle child: Learns how to adapt and naturally seeks a position of compromise being sandwiched between the oldest and youngest. In the workplace, learning how to give and take gives the middle child an excellent advantage in working with teams. They desire harmony and are the content when relationships are running smooth at work.
Working with a middle child can be one of the best working relationships to have because they understand the value of negotiating, and as managers, often have empathy for those who do not get recognition. Out of all the birth orders a middle child can be the most open minded and establishes open-door policies where communication is encouraged and valued.
As a middle child, developing your own identity is important as well as learning that you can’t always please everyone and that in the workplace there will be situations where harmony will not always be present.
Youngest child: Is the baby of the family and as a result does not often carry the load of responsibility as their older siblings. By the time the youngest child comes around parents are usually more lenient and younger children develop a care-free attitude with a tendency to let others take the lead. This care-free upbringing can spill over to the workplace, and if not aware, can send a perception that you view work as less serious than others may view it.
In the workplace the youngest child might need more supervision and patience as they develop the skills needed to participant in teams. With the youngest child’s sense of creativity and adventuresome spirit they can be great innovators. As the youngest child, developing decision-making skills and learning to take lead roles, even though uncomfortable, can help you grow in your career.
It is helpful to understand how birth orders can impact your communication style and may help explain why it’s easier to get along some better than others. Understanding the differences can foster better working relationships and help you manage your career.
What are your thoughts about birth orders at work?