You need skills to succeed. Skills and the right qualities. There are those skills and qualities that benefit the employer you work for. But there are also the skills and qualities that benefit you. You are the most important beneficiary. What’s most important is that you are aware of your own skills and qualities. That you are aware of their power and effect within your circle of influence. That circle will include your boss(es), peers, direct reports, personal friends, acquaintances, and family.
Below are my favourite qualities for me and the ones that I am constantly working to improve.
Influence is the ability to convince others of your ideas, preferences, solutions, etc. People think that influence is a magic trick. You sit in a room with your opponent, so to speak. And at the end of the conversation, you will have won then over. When in reality, influence can sometimes take days and weeks to achieve. And often the other person just needs time. Time to think of what you’ve told them. And come to their own understanding.
Clarity is being able to think without any emotional influence. If you are angry, frustrated, in love, anxious, etc. you are not thinking clearly. You need to take a step back, breath, think and rethink. And then assess your options strategically. Should you send that email? Or face the problem head on? Or perhaps even ignore the issue altogether and see how things unfold.
To be proactive means many things. Take the initiative. Don’t play the victim, change the story and be the winner. Diffuse potential situations before they erupt. Solve problems, don’t point them out. Be pre-emptive.
Awareness is a large topic. It covers being aware of yourself, your emotional state and your physical being. Being aware of how others see you. Also, it is to be aware of others. Be able to listen and watch communication nuances. Be alert to changing circumstances.
You’ve heard of EI. Being aware of your emotional state and the ability to affect them. To have empathy for others. To be able to influence other’s emotions through your own. Without strong EI skills, you can’t have awareness or clarity. Nor can you influence others if you are emotionally charged.
For any of these skills and qualities to take hold, you need to be engaged. At all times. Be alert and pay attention. You constantly need to kick your mind out of going into auto mode. This is a very taxing activity. But is necessary.
If you decide to take this challenge on, the rewards are many. You become better at learning from others’ and your own mistakes. Better able to assess your weaknesses. But also better able to make use of your strengths.