Whether they’re bankers or builders, accountants or astronauts, successful men and women have certain qualities in common. That’s because some attributes transcend job descriptions and are beneficial to have regardless of what you do.
- Leadership ability. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a manager or merely starting out in your career, if you can demonstrate direction and the passion and ability to help inspire and lead others you will likely do very well.That’s because leadership skills are a key indicator of a professional’s ability to succeed, says Gorton. “Men and women who demonstrate sound leadership qualities in the workplace are more than likely to succeed in their careers.”
Leadership skills come from having mental strength, including tenacity, confidence and optimism, Gorton says. The ability to change with the times is also important. “Successful professionals with excellent leadership skills generally demonstrate adaptability, encourage trust and are decisive.”
Leadership skills can be developed by looking to a role model and observing company leaders you admire to evaluate their leadership style, Gorton says. “If possible, this person could serve as a mentor who could help you gain perspective, identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you focus.”
- Great communication skills. There isn’t a job in the world that doesn’t benefit from good communication, so naturally the most successful people are also top communicators. That’s because communication is integral to all aspects of our lives, not just our work, so it’s important to be able to do it well.“Candidates with great communication skills are most definitely in high demand from employers looking to add value to their teams,” says Gorton. “Ambitious professionals should sharpen their communication skills, both verbal and written, which will help them better convey their ideas, vision and goals to their colleagues and potential team members.”
One way of doing this is taking a leaf out of your leader’s book by staying ahead of the curve with business developments. Gorton explains, “Professionals can mimic their leaders by closely monitoring developing trends and keeping their team members updated on emerging issues.”
- Excellent collaboration skills. Even if you’re in a largely solitary role, such as coding, there will be times you’ll need to work with others. That’s why the ability to collaborate with your co-workers is key.“Successful men and women in the workplace trust and enjoy working with their colleagues,” says Gorton. In order to successfully emulate this quality, it’s important to make the distinction between cooperation and competition. “That is, working together as a team to achieve a common goal rather than individualising your work process to achieve results only for your agenda.”
The way to develop this skill is simple: involve your colleagues in your work. Gorton recommends asking them for advice on a project you’re working on, and including their feedback when you’re making important decisions. “Companies and individuals prosper when everyone is working together as a team.”
Take a look around your workplace or peer group and take note of the traits of the successful people you see around you. You could also pick one of the three qualities above to focus on strengthening in yourself as a goal for the end of the year.