There are many things you can do to improve your productivity and success. This includes specific techniques you can learn, useful strategies and tactics you can deploy, and – in this instance – important personality traits and attitudes you can cultivate.
The simple idea here is that these personality traits and attitudes (and others I’ll mention another time) will tend to bring you into closer, more frequent contact with opportunities to make effective use of your skills, knowledge, and abilities.
Once the opportunities arise, obviously, it’s up to you to deliver the big, best, most worthwhile results of which you’re capable. But you already know how to do that.
Here are some desirable traits and attitudes you can develop to a higher degree:
Taking more of a leadership role when one is available is a great way to step up into fruitful opportunities to become more successful.
If you’re not a natural leader, you can research leadership traits and gradually develop that side of yourself. If you already feel capable of situational leadership, you can prime yourself to more often take such opportunities when they arise. Try:
- Speaking up, particularly when you have ideas for solving problems or moving forward with important projects.
- Motivating and encouraging others to contribute more of their strengths to a particular task or project.
- Suggesting ways specific groups of people can cooperate and collaborate more effectively.
- Smoothing over or resolving interpersonal conflicts and differing points of view.
- Negotiating and brokering compromises when differences between people threaten to derail productivity and success.
- Helping specific individuals make better decisions and find ways to achieve their personal goals.
Look Farther Out
It’s harder to lose your way when your eyes are focused on more distant goals. That’s one reason friends, colleagues, and co-workers feel more willing to respect and follow a person who maintains a consistent sense of direction.
By focusing on longer-term goals, you can:
- More readily identify opportunities that best support the current goal.
- Make better judgments about where to allocate scarce resources.
- Maintain your own and others’ motivation despite short-term difficulties and set-backs.
- Persist in efforts to complete a complex endeavor when progress is hard to measure.
Carry the Team
Success comes more often to people who are willing to take the most responsibility, absorb the most pressure, and deliver the best performances.
When you express a readiness to do these things, and to put in the extra effort they usually require, others will begin to perceive you as someone they want involved in the kind of high-profile projects that offer the most satisfying rewards.
As Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
What’s relevant here is that people who tend to see problems and difficulties as opportunities and challenges, rather than obstacles and impediments, will naturally find more opportunities to succeed.
Among other reasons, this is because a positive outlook in the face of adversity helps build and maintain motivation, and is also more conducive to developing workable strategies and plans.
Almost anyone can handle routine situations for which there are well-understood procedures and clearly laid-out resolutions. However, it takes a special person to help forge a way forward when the situation is complicated, not fully understood, and highly dynamic.
In these situations, the last thing needed is a rigid approach. People who can galvanize others to analyze the situation and produce satisfactory outcomes tend to exhibit a more flexible attitude, and show more willingness to try new tactics and accept workable solutions – at least for the short-term.
When difficulties arise, people are happier about sharing opportunities with a person who takes advice, encourages new ideas, and recognizes progress toward a solution, even when it’s less than perfect.
While humility is a more desirable trait than bluster, an honest willingness to offer your best efforts is likely to be noticed, appreciated, and rewarded.
Assertively displaying your skills, knowledge, and abilities will likely inspire others to do their best, as well. And delivering good results in a difficult situation produces a net positive, which marks you as a high achiever even if you aren’t able to perform as well the next time around.
Bounce Back from Failure
One of the most common reasons people hold back from full-bore efforts is their reluctance to experience less-than-satisfactory results.
But in most cases, “failure” is part and parcel of success. As the charismatic and highly successful president of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., advised:
“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”
As I’ve previously written, failure can be “a wonderful opportunity that is not to be feared, but rather to be welcomed as a stepping stone to a better future.”
You’ll always need to deliver your best possible results, of course. But by re-making yourself with a greater emphasis on these personality traits and attitudes, you’ll be offered more opportunities to show how well you can do in many aspects of your work and your life.
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