I received a lot of positive feedback about my recent post on some personal characteristics to cultivate. However, many people asked to learn, as well, about some “workplace characteristics” that would make them more valuable on their next project or within their current or future organization.
Fair enough. Productivity and success come more readily to those who have highly specific characteristics that help them deliver desirable results everywhere they go, on everything they do.
The most desirable workplace characteristics include:
Adaptability – The single most important attribute for finding happiness, as well as success. This is because the only certainty in life is change. If you fear these changes, you will often suffer. If you view them as opportunities and adventures, you will often succeed. The more easily you accept the next round of changes and the better you can adapt to cope with them or even prevail, the better you will fare in both work and life.
A Solid Work Ethic – Many people hoping to boost their productivity and success believe in and rely on luck. But I believe more in the old saying: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” The willingness to put in a strong effort, to devote a great many hours, and to engage in thorough preparation for difficult encounters is among the most important foundations of continuing advancement and success. Of course, you generally want to find the easiest, simplest, fastest way to get things done well. But it’s vital to recognize that your willingness to work hard will always be the most reliable way to advance toward your desired goals.
A Positive Attitude – Work and life are full of difficulties, discouragements, and disappointments. If you can endure all these with a positive attitude, you will be welcomed by many more people and find yourself with more opportunities than if you too often grouse about what’s wrong with the world. It’s the old glass-half-full versus glass-half-empty choice of how you will approach your work and life.
Self-Motivated – Many work and life situations will offer you reasons to try, to learn, to accomplish. But these external motivations can disappear or lead you in directions you don’t value or enjoy. Self-motivation, on the other hand, rarely disappears for long, and always helps to guarantee you will try, learn, and accomplish in directions you care about. What’s more, self-motivated people are easier to work with, in many ways, because no one has to “ride herd” on them to coax out desirable results.
Accepting Responsibility – There are actually two forms of responsibility to discuss here: First, there’s no substitute for demonstrating the responsibility to show up on time and fulfill your commitments. When others learn they can depend on you, they are likely to wholeheartedly support what you do and enable you to do more. Second, the willingness to take on new work and new duties is one of the elevators to higher levels of success. Accepting this kind of responsibility is often what distinguishes an outstanding talent from the crowd.
Honesty and Integrity – Personal relationships are central to success in your work and your life, but personal relationships suffer and become far more difficult if you are lacking honesty and integrity. Would you be willing to work or live closely with someone who failed to earn your trust? Would you give them your best efforts or care to help them succeed? Neither would anyone else.
Growth Oriented – Because change is inevitable, and even commonplace, people who routinely want to learn are better suited to coping with the world in which we work and live. Whatever you know right now, in whatever field, a large proportion of it will become obsolete or unimportant within a few short years. Like rowing a boat upstream in a river, if you don’t keep propelling yourself forward regarding what you know, you’ll fall behind.
Self-Confident – People who feel sure of themselves are better able to try new things, cope with setbacks and adversity, learn from their mistakes, improve on their weaknesses, take prudent risks, and inspire others to do the same. These are traits that contribute heavily to productivity and success in both work and life. Even better, the more productive and successful you become, the more reason you have to feel sef-confident.
Loyalty – This is a basic human quality that people instinctively recognize and value. The sad fact is that not everyone can be counted on when the going gets tough through work or life. If you give your loyalty to others, you will find most others responding to you with a significant measure of genuine warmth, consideration, and helpfulness.
Professionalism – This concept means many things to many people in many different fields of endeavor. But at bottom it implies a high level of expertise, commitment, effort, experience, and results that others can count on. The professional knows what s/he is talking about, quickly recognizes real and potential problems, and can nearly always produce workable solutions. Here’s a simple way to think of this: If you’re about to jump out of an airplane, would you rather your parachute had been packed by an amateur or a professional?