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Birth Order Influences in the Workplace, Part I-Non-Supervisory Employees

Updated on February 17, 2013
gmwilliams profile image

Grace knows birth order dynamics. Children are treated differently based upon their respective birth orders.


The Importance of Birth Order in the Workplace

A person's birth order influences the type of person he/she becomes. A person's ordinal position in the family constellation influences the way he/she relates to his/her parents, siblings, and peers. A person's birth order is instrumental as to what type of treatment he/she receives from a parent. Parents often treat and have different expectations of their children based upon their respective birth order.

Birth order is very influential regarding a person's academic and social achievements in academia and beyond. How people relate to each other whether it is peer, familial, platonic, romantic, and marital relationships are dependent on their respective birth orders. Work place interactions are also dependent on birth order. People often use their ordinal family positions in the employment setting whether it is in their relationship with a co-worker and/or superior in addition to their general attitude towards work performance.

The oldest child in the family was an only child temporarily before being dethroned by the arrival of a succedent sibling or siblings.. As a result of being dethroned, the oldest child felt that he/she was abandoned by his/her parents and he/she is no longer worthy of their attention. The oldest child starts to be the good child and the overachiever to be worthy once again of his/her parents love.

Oldest children become the leaders in their families. Oldest children are expected by their parents to be responsible and less childlike at a very early age. Oldest children are expected to be exemplary examples to their younger siblings. Because of high parental expectations, oldest children can be quite perfectionistic and conservative. Oldest children also become severe taskmasters in relation to their younger siblings.

Because of their ordinal position in the family constellation, oldest children can develop an authoritarian attitude i.e. might makes right and their way is the only way. Oldest children can also be control freaks in that no one can do anything as good as they can. Oldest children can be quite uncompromising as they believe that they have more knowledge and expertise than their younger siblings who look up to them. .

In the workplace, oldest children are very conscientious and hard working employees. They are also very responsible employees. Many oldest children believe that they are more knowledgeable and capable than most employees and are not hesitant in demonstrating this. Oldest children are usually placed in supervisory, managerial, and executive positions at work because of their acute leadership acumen.

Oldest children find the concept of teamwork to be an anathema. To the oldest child, "teamwork" , in actuality, means that the most diligent, hardworking, and responsible person is often shouldered with the most work while other less diligent employees coast along and everyone on the "team" gets the credit whether or not they contributed their fair share. Oldest children are either comfortable being an informal leader in the workplace often "supervising" their co-workers and ascertaining that the work goes smoothly or working by themselves. Oldest children, being responsible, did not like close supervision. They are happiest when there is little or no supervision.

.Oldest children are most comfortable in any type of leadership role where they can judiciously exercise their skills. Even if oldest children start in subordinate roles, they often will not remain there long. Because oldest children are alpha people on the basis of their birth order, they can be contentious towards their co-workers and management alike. To reiterate, many oldest children believe and assert that they are smarter and know more than anyone else. Oldest children, because of their perfectionism and leadership capabilities are often control freaks believe that they are the ONLY ones who can do the job correctly. This does not exactly endear them to other coworkers; in fact, this alienates them.

Oldest children who remain in subordinate positions at work are a sad thing indeed. These oldest children are often miserable and continuously use upmanship on their superiors, making the work place a very hostile and toxic one. However, there are exceptions to this rule. There are some oldest children who were so overburdened with responsibilities at a such a young age that they want nothing more to do with responsibilities. They are happy being in subordinate roles at work as they know that supervisory and management roles is a headache.

The only child will always be the center of his/her parents' universe. He/she was not dethroned by a younger sibling. Furthermore, only children do not have to compete with siblings for the affection of his/her parents. Because of these factors, only children have self-confidence and self-assurance that people with siblings do not have. Only children are quite comfortable in their own skins thank you.

Because there are no siblings to depend on, only children are quite independent and self-reliant. Only children because of growing up in an adult environment, develop mature mannerism early. Intense parental interaction with only children result in them having advanced and complex vocabularies in addition to intellectual acumen. Only children are quite imaginative and creative because they were not pigeonholed into narrow family roles that children with siblings are. Only children have the freedom to be their own persons and are highly individualistic.

However, parental expectations are quite high for the only children as all their hopes and dreams are on that child. Because of such high parental expectations, only children tend to be perfectionistic and are highly self-critical if they fail. Like the oldest child, the only child can be quite uncompromising but for another reason, he/she is used to getting his/her own way with parents.

In the workplace, only children are very diligent and are hard workers. They, like oldest children(both alpha birth orders), can work with little or no supervision. However, only children are happiest when working alone. Only children, like oldest children, do not like the concept of "teamwork". Only children,being self-reliant and independent workers;believe that each worker is capable of this and should contribute his/her fair share to the workplace.

Only children are excellent self-starters who know what to do without a supervisor prodding them. Only children are not into social banter and seriously believe that people come to work to produce an honest's day work. Since only children are self-reliant and independent employees, they do not take kindly to indolent and irresponsible employees. It is their belief that if they work, everyone should do without any exceptions.

Only children can become excellent freelance employees because of their fiercely independent and perfectionistic natures. Their self-reliant, independent, and perfectionistic natures can led them to become entrepreneurs. Only children are also quite comfortable working at home as the result of home-based enterprises from the internet as they have minimal interruptions.

However, there are many only children who are prima donnas, believing that they are the only ones in the universe and that no one else matters. These only children make very obnoxious, trying, and very toxic employees. They believe that the workplace revolves around them and they do not intend to contribute to the workplace. They often want easier assignments and better jobs without doing the prerequisite work. They further believe that the work rules do not apply to them and they should do as they wish regardless of how it affects other co-workers and superiors alike.

The middle child often does not have an individual identity. He/she is often known as someone's older and/or younger sibling. Middle children because of their ordinal position in the family constellation are often overlooked and ignored by their parents and siblings. Middle children react to this in the following ways: either developing a nondescript personality or becoming loudly vocal asserting their personality.

Because middle children are between the oldest and younger siblings, they learn the art of compromise in interfacing with them. Furthermore as the beta birth order, middle children also learn cooperation in addition to compromise which comes in handy in workplace settings. Middle children furthermore learn to see all sides of a situation and often defend the underdog. Sometimes middle children can be very independent and quite antiauthoritarian because they were left pretty much on their own by their parents and siblings.

In the workplace, middle children are often the most cooperative and professional employees. They understand the concept of teamwork and deem it an essential part of the workplace. Middle children know that every part is equal to the whole.

Middle children can interface easily with both co-workers and superiors alike. To the middle child, no one person is better than other-everyone has a job to do and each job is important. Middle children are often excellent negotiators at work, often resolving dispute either between a group of co-workers or between a co-worker and a superior.

Middle children are often the jack of all trades. Many middle children are people pleasers at work and they believe that the workplace functions smoother if everyone got along. Many middle children are quite content being in subordinate positions and they do not have the angst that many oldest and only children have being in those positions.

Because middle children know the art of negotiation, they are excellent in positions which requires those skills. Many middle children, because they are for the underdog, make great advocates of those who are oppressed. There are middle children are quite antiauthoritarian and independent. These middle children are quite uncomfortable working in conventional work settings and are better off being entrepreneurs and/or freelancers where they make their own hours and their own rules.

There is the youngest child. Parents are finished having children at this point. Youngest children do not have to worry about ever being dethroned-ever!

Youngest child are considered the babies of their families. They are pampered and are not given as much responsibilities as older siblings. Younger children are allowed to be children more and to enjoy their childhood unencumbered by responsibilities.

Parents are usually more lenient with their youngest children than they are with their oldest children. Youngest children can relax in their own essence. Because youngest children have no responsibilities and high expectations placed upon them, they can easily coast through in life. Youngest children have it the easiest of all birth orders.

Youngest children are punished least of all the birth orders. Youngest children are allowed to get away with things that oldest children would be severely punished for. Because everyone in the family does things for the youngest child, he/she often becomes quite spoiled and dependent. Youngest children are often more unconventional and adventurous because all the avenues were done by older siblings.

In the workplace, it is the youngest child who needs the most and close supervision. Youngest children are often not serious about work. They see the workplace as a place to have fun, not to be serious about work. Because of their familial environment, many youngest children are irresponsible and expect other workers to take care of them and pick up the slack.

It is the youngest child who gives the concept of team work a bad name. They are the ones who coast along while other co-workers do the actual work. Because parents and older siblings made most of their decisions for them, youngest children find it difficult to use initiative and to work independently. Furthermore, youngest children want people to rescue and protect them. Youngest children are very comfortable being in subordinate positions because they like being told what to do and like a lot of hand holding in the workplace.

Because youngest children are comfortable with being told what to do, they are extremely uncomfortable being in responsible and authoritative positions. Youngest children are often the most uncooperative employees who do not contribute their fair share to the workplace. Youngest children prefer to get by on charms and other non-work characteristics, leaving other more responsible employees to do all the work.

However, there are some youngest children who are creative and imaginative employees. They seek new and more unconventional ways to perform their duties and are often trendsetters and trailblazers. However, these youngest children are quite the exception to the rule. These unconventional youngest children are not comfortable, working in conventional jobs but in other avenues of employment. .

In conclusion, a person's birth order has a profound influence in the workplace. A person's birth order determines what type of employee he/she is. A person's birth order furthermore influences whether he/she is prefers to work alone or be a teamplayer. The issue of birth order is also a factor in attitudes towards authoritative figures at work and work attitudes. Birth order influences not only childhood relationships but employee relationships as well.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm not easily impdesser. . . but that's impressing me! :)

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      9 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To Chris: As the youngest, you are often creative and unconventional in your approach to your job. You are also quite a people's person. Your oldest sister, I assume, is more serious and goal oriented in her approach.

      I suggest that when interfacing with her, be more serious and business like. Discuss goals and strategies with her-oldest children love implementing, setting, and reach goals. If you have a business plan, discuss it with her and get her input on the subject. By the way, I wish you good luck regarding your interfacings with your sister.

      To reiterate, oldest children are the most alpha of all birth orders. It will be difficult to concede that you are just as capable as she is. As the oldest, she considers herself to be "more" than you- more competent, more knowledgeable, and more capable. As the youngest, she often views you as "the baby" and "the lesser". Prove to her that you are just as capable and knowledgeable as she is! Again, good luck and God bless!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for writing this article. I am seeking ways to get along with my sister in the workplace and right now you can probably tell from my last comment that our relationship is not good. Do you have any advice to give the youngest child (me) on how to get along with my sister? We are both in sales and I feel like instead of working together, she is critical about my attitude and turn everything into a competition to prove something... Oh and by the way, our mom is our boss. Thank you !!

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      9 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To Chris: Thank you for responding. You are so right. I find that oldest children in the workplace must always be FIRST. They must win and hate to be in second and/or third place.

      If the oldest child is not the boss and/or supervisor, they make for a very poor subordinate employee. They do not like to be told what to do. There was one employee, the oldest in her family, who always wanted to be in charge. Besides that, she NEVER listened to any of her supervisors. She often called them stupid. However, she was not an overachiever-the supervisors often considered her to be slow. This employee did not care, she believed that she was smarter than the supervisors and all the employees.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I work with my sister in the workplace/office setting who is the eldest and she is bossy, thinks she is smarter than everyone else, and is a total overachiever. Thought this article especially nailed it with the oldest child's idea of "teamwork". Too bad they don't listen to others because I'm sure the projects would turn out better if they listened to their coworkers input.

    • Joy56 profile image


      9 years ago

      my pleasure

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      9 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you for your response. I appreciate it greatly.

    • Joy56 profile image


      9 years ago

      wonderful, it is the first time i have heard good things about a middle child.... I totally agree of course, i support the under dog..... I am one, i think. ha ha


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