THE QUICK THINKER

The persona The ability to think on your feet comes from a combination of creativity and being able to see opportunities and their permutations.

Cultivate it! "Often, what keeps us stuck are our attachments to what we already know about the way things are done, as well as our preferences," says Julia Ng, senior executive coach from Executive Coach International. "Practise letting go, be willing to try a different approach, and be open to others' suggestions."

Now, more than ever, companies need workers who can foresee problems, come up with solutions, and make informed decisions about them quickly. "Employees who can do this come up with more innovative ideas, and will be highly prized for their perceptiveness," Julia adds.

THE COOL CAT

The persona A demanding work environment can send anyone spiralling into chaos. Staying calm under pressure will show your boss what you're really made of. And if you're composed, she'll have one less thing to worry about.

Cultivate it! Keep your eye on the ball and remain solution-orientated. Work on what's important, and not necessarily what appears to be urgent, Julia advises.

Be disciplined about your schedule. Try to accomplish what you set out to do in the time given, stop when the time is up (even though it's incomplete), and switch to the next thing. You'll also feel more confident if you take the time to prepare for your tasks.

Lastly, take a breather every now and then. If a situation is causing you stress, walk away from it to calm yourself and get a fresh perspective.

 

THE CHEERLEADER

The persona Bosses like positive-minded employees with a can-do attitude because they tend to be forward-looking, exhibit leadership qualities, and get things done.

Cultivate it! "Be unconditionally constructive, even when dealing with bad news. Using positive language can inspire those around you," says Julia. "Be generous with praise and acknowledgments where they are due and talk about what's possible, to balance out any negativity."

Think of obstacles as opportunities for improvement and work with passion. Even if your boss asks you for something you think is crazy, resist the knee-jerk response of "Yes, but…". Instead, say "Yes, and…" Then ask a question to learn more.

"Before explaining all the ways it can't be done, flip your thinking and ask yourself, 'Okay, I may not agree, but how might I get this done for my boss?'" says Susan Sadler, professional certified coach from Sadler Communications.

Finally, make it a point to celebrate the team's breakthroughs and milestones.

THE JUGGLER

The persona If you are able to juggle many things and do them all well - and on time - you'll be seen as all- rounded, versatile and efficient.

Cultivate it! According to Susan, research shows that multi-tasking can impair work quality. So, what's the right way to multi-task?

"Choose the right times to multi- task and unitask - which is working and focusing fully on one thing at a time. Plan your activities so that you multi-task when you have sufficient resources, and unitask when others are less reachable and you can concentrate best," says Julia. Focusing on one thing at a time allows you to develop mastery, instead of being a "Jill of all trades".

"Set yourself up to unitask by disconnecting or silencing your devices, resisting replying to e-mails, and letting others know you'll be busy for the next couple of hours so they can support you. Don't make this too frequent, though, as others may see you as distant," Julia adds.

When multi-tasking, choose compatible tasks. It's hard to focus on two mental tasks such as reading and listening to a conversation at the same time. Instead, combine a mental task like thinking of what you're going to say in your presentation with a physical task like photocopying or tidying your desk.

Finally, use your downtime efficiently, says Julia. Have smaller projects or tasks to fill the gaps between larger projects, or when you need a breather.