Develop 10 vital attributes to succeed in your career

HOW likely are you to be successful on the job?

How likely is it that others perceive you as already successful or potentially successful?

The following 10 attributes and skills — or lack of them — which will be discussed in this two-part article, predict whether you will actually succeed in the workplace or merely stagnate.

Make a conscious effort to develop each one of them and watch your career take off.


Ability to read other people

You have to be able to interpret other people’s facial expressions, body language, words and innuendos.

If you are sitting in a meeting and somebody pushes his chair away from the table, crosses his arms and looks down at the floor, do you understand what this means?

If your colleague is not looking you in the eye when he is talking to you, do you grasp the message?

If your boss listens to your idea in a brainstorming session and simply comments, “Brilliant” when you finish, do you know if he has being sincere?

When you are trying to tell a group of people something and they start walking away from you midstream, do you get the message they are sending?

You have to pick up on others’ cues and clues.

It is part of emotional intelligence, and it has practical implications in the workplace.

If you cannot accurately read people most of the time, you will not get very far.



Rigidity is the opposite of flexibility, and it is rampant in the professional world.

You will not get far being rigid in your thinking, your actions, your style, your approach, your world view, your perceptions and your judgments.

You have to learn to bend.

This doesn’t mean you give up your core values or change your mind every time the wind blows.

This also doesn’t mean you say you agree with others even when you don’t.

Flexibility means you do things a different way depending on what the situation calls for.

It means you approach Sally differently from how you approach Tom because they are very different people.

It means you stay late on a day when a crisis occurs and throws off the schedule.

If you are not flexible, you will be miserable — and so will many others who work with you.


Honesty mixed with discretion

To make it in the workplace, you need to be honest. But you also need to be wise.

For example, giving too much unnecessary information when somebody asks you a question may not be a smart idea.

Revealing personal details about an individual that could harm that person’s reputation without a good reason is not good judgment.

Telling your boss exactly what you think of him when you are annoyed jeopardises your job.

You have to figure out how to be honest without being reckless or stupid. Use some discretion as you speak honestly about a situation, a colleague, a supervisor or a person in the community.

And remember that brutal honesty is rarely a good thing. Telling your peer that a board member is a jerk — even if he is — reflects badly on you. Your comment may have been honest, but it certainly was not wise.


Attention to detail

Pay attention to every appointment on your calendar, written notes to and from other people, spellings of words in e-mail, tone of voice in phone messages, facial expressions, body language, emotional displays, offhand comments and the things people don’t actually say.

Notice everything. Register everything. Keep promises, or provide an explanation as to why you can’t do so.

Follow up on projects, tasks, phone calls and people’s questions. Don’t let things slide.

People often say they are too busy to pay close attention to details.

You can’t afford not to pay attention to them. If you are known for looking at the details and acting upon them, you will go far in the workplace.

Why? Dealing with details conveys to other individuals that you value them, care about them and want to make things better for them.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, zero in on the details.


Ability to think strategically

If you cannot or will not think strategically, you won’t get far.

Strategic thinking is not small and impulsive. It is visionary and considers the whole picture. It is looking at how one thing can fit into the bigger thing.

Strategic thinking considers impact on other people, other departments, company viability and community image.

Many employees — even managers — are not capable of this type of thinking.

Many people find it easier to remain in a little self-centred box.

Strategic thinking requires more work, more effort and more energy.

But when you do it, it is a wonderful experience for you personally and incredibly valuable to the organisation.


Next: Be an inspiration to others


Article by Sylvia Hepler, owner and president of Launching Lives. She is an executive and career coach/advisor based in South Central Pennsylvania in the United States. Article source: