Personality Development


The term ‘personality’ is derived from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means to speak through. It also refers to the word mask worn by performers in ancient time. Thus personality is the sum total of ideas, attitudes and values of a person which decide his role in social and professional environment. Personality represents the person as a whole. Personality means a personal trait like open-minded, aggressive, shy, introvert or dominant. It tells how a person affects other and understand the environment.

Personality is the sum of a person’s values (the objects of his striving, such as ideas, prestige, power and sex) plus his non – physical traits (his habitual ways of acting and reacting). – A.W Green

The integration of the socio-psychological behavior of the human being, represented by habits of action and feeling, attitudes and opinions. – Ogburn

Factors Affecting the Personality:

There are several factors that have influence on shaping of our personality.

Here we are discussing these factors in brief:

Heredity: Some characteristics of behavior are transmitted in us genetically, which we get from our ancestors. Few of the traits like height, weight, temperament, intellectual abilities, ability to learn, logical power, etc. are also inherited.  Importance of heredity may vary from person to person.

Social factors: The personality of a person is also shaped by family and social groups. Process of socialization and identification influence the personality. Socialization is the process by which a kid acquires wide range of behavioral potentials values, beliefs from the family members.  The education of the parents, socio-economic status of the family and other family members affect the personality of an individual. Identification is process by which a kid tends to be like some person he likes the most.

Situational Factor: The personality of a person may change with change in situation. Different aspects of the personality may be seen during different situations. We should not generalize the personality of a person. A person may have different behavior in friends and family and a different behavior in workplace, while another person may remain same in both the situations.

Miscellaneous factors:

  • Temperament: Temperament refers to degree to which one person responds emotionally.
  • Interest: An individual may have interest in many areas. These interests can be satisfied by job rotation and training so that person may work effectively. Many successful persons in same occupation may have same interest in large extent.
  • Character: Character means extent of honesty in a person. It refers to resistance to cheating the other persons. It is vital requirement of all the jobs. Character may be influenced by situational needs.
  • Life style: It is set of certain things like beliefs, values, perception and attitude which a person hold towards job and organisation, working conditions, incentive plans etc. The personality of a person depends on such things in a great extent. Religion education and language also are the factors that shape the personality of a person.

Development of Personality:

Personality of an individual is personal unique and major determinant of his behavior. Because of different personality people respond differently in a given situation. It is personality that tells how a person actually is? Whether he is nice, shy, helpful or aggressive? Personality of a person makes him unique, but how does it develop? How exactly a person become who he is today? What are the factors that play vital role in the shaping of personality? 

There are different approaches of development of personality; one major approach is identification of physiological stages and psychological stages. Different psychologists like Freud, Erikson and Alder have given their views on it.

Freudian Stages:

Sigmund Freud proposed a theory which is based upon thought that man is motivated through many unseen forces. His findings show that man is motivated through forces that are of unconscious framework. This framework consists of three aspects that are id ego and super ego. It is discussed as follows.

The Id: The id is part of psychic energy and it tends satisfaction of biological/instinct needs immediately. It can be classified under life instinct and death instinct. Life instincts are hunger, thirst and sex. These basic needs are satisfied by energy of known as the libido.  The death instinct is to urge for living and driving force is fear of death. The id is not changed and it is activated within the unconscious part of the mind. As a child grows he learns to control the id. The id works for getting pleasure. So Id is motivational forces living without fear and hunger thirst and sexual urges. As child grows his id part of personality develops and he comes to know that these are the needs he has to satisfy 

The ego: The ego is conscious and logical part of human personality. It controls the id stage of human personality through logic and reasoning. The ego is the organized part of the personality structure that includes defensive and rational aspect. The development of logical thinking, defensiveness, self-esteem and interpersonal skills is the making of ego stage. It tends to control the satisfaction of need in id stage but logically and in conscious way.

Super Ego: The superego stands for societal and personal norms that serves as ethical constraint on behavior. The super ego stage tells the norms to ego stage that what is right or wrong. It is developed through cultural and social norms. It is influenced by people in the life like educator, teacher, mentor or idol of human being. The super-ego aspires for excellence and perfection.