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8 Personality Traits Of Effective Business People


Spend just a few minutes searching the Internet or the shelves of your local bookstore or library, and you will find plenty of resources that list and analyze the personality traits of effective, successful business people. Public relations teams, in collaboration with highly paid photographers and makeup artists, work hard to present well-known and wealthy business leaders to the world as larger-than-life figures possessing knowledge and skills beyond the grasp of the common man.

Meanwhile, if you find yourself a part of the workforce after high school or college, and are wondering what traits you might nurture and cultivate, within yourself or among your employees, to create a successful career and business, consider the eight points below:

  1. Creative.

    Some of our country’s most lauded leaders in business, technology, and science are creative individuals. Love them or hate them, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and Huffington Post Media co-founder Arianna Huffington are three successful business leaders who understand the value of creativity in business. Creative thinking can include a sudden epiphany, an answer after an extended period of work, or an idea borne out of improvisation. With creativity comes mistakes, and navigating those wrong turns should be considered an inevitable and crucial part of doing business.

  2. Dependable.

    Dependability in the workplace is an easily recognizable trait. Being dependable in business includes showing up to work on time, following through with assigned tasks, and not abusing sick or vacation days. Being flexible with regard to your role at work and intuiting what your boss may or may not require of you day to day are also indications of your dependability. Dependability points to your personal integrity, which translates to respect, not only for your boss and co-workers, but for yourself as well.

  3. Compassionate.

    The etymology of the word “compassion” goes back to the Latin words “com” meaning “with” and “pati” meaning “to suffer.” Compassion expressed by a manager or co-worker creates a dynamic in the workplace where people feel valued for who they are, not for what they produce in terms of quotas or profits. Lack of compassion creates a tense environment, where team members feel alienated from one another instead of connected. “Compassion is not religious business, it is human business,” says the Dali Lama. “It is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.”

  4. Enthusiastic.

    The enthusiasm you bring to your work is contagious and stimulates opportunities for growth and positive change. Great leaders, such as conductor and teacher Benjamin Zander, understand this. “Teaching is about opening new possibilities,” says Zander. “Opening up new ways of thinking.” The level of enthusiasm Zander brings to teaching and conducting neutralizes insecurity and fear, traits that create inertia in individuals as well as business.

  5. Motivated.

    Self-motivation is key to being effective in any environment, be it business, creative, or spiritual. That statement may sound like a platitude, but successful, self-motivated men and women seem to burn with an inner fire fueled by their passion for whatever it is they truly love to do. After Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he shared the following with students in a commencement speech: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Regarding self-motivation, Jobs joked, “If you live each day of your life as if it’s your last, some day you will most certainly be right.”

  6. Curious.

    Effective people in business are curious. Being curious is a way of acknowledging that you don’t know everything and recognize that models and innovations outside of your “sphere of influence” might provide you with knowledge you can apply to your field. To that point, curiosity can inspire creativity and, maybe most importantly, compassion, two traits we’ve already listed. Remember a certain monkey named George and his friend the man in the yellow hat the next time you’re feeling uninspired or stagnant. You may be inspired to explore a subject you know nothing about, and in turn bring what you learn back to your job.

  7. The ability to recover from failure.

    The ability to recover from failure is a trait you find in successful people in all fields, including business. The aforementioned Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he helped create. Henry Ford famously said, “Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Donald Trump has said, “Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.” The next time you experience failure, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

  8. Confident.

    Confidence in your interactions with co-workers, clients, and managers will help prevent unfair and inaccurate judgments regarding your skills and personality. But being confident doesn’t mean being brusque, obnoxious, or bullying. Instead, recognize what is good about yourself, what value you bring to the table in any situation, be it business or otherwise, and express it. Expressing confidence is not only helpful to you but to those you work with, who may be seeking inspiration and guidance.


This article was first posted on Business Insurance.



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