There are some who seem to have the uncanny ability to inspire others to do their best. People are drawn to them, will move mountains for them, and hang on to their every word. They are trusted and considered experts in their field and innovators in their industry. While it can seem like great leaders are born with these qualities, birthright or luck is seldom involved in their recipe for success.
Whether you are mapping out your career from your dorm room, behind a reception desk, or as a part of a growing team, think about the people whose influence you admire. What characteristics do they have in common?
Here are a few key attributes to assist you on your professional journey.
A strong presence. What do people perceive when they are with you? Are you rushing around, late for every meeting, frantic when you arrive with a litany of excuses? Or, are you self-assured, calm, poised, friendly and confident? First impressions matter and consistency is essential to maintaining an image – both good and bad.
An optimistic attitude. Looking on the bright side of any situation and giving yourself permission to try again will not only make you a happier person, but more likely to excel no matter your circumstances. Associates (and your boss) will take note of the ingenuity and enthusiasm you bring to the company.
Curating a classic wardrobe. Choose your clothing each day to reflect your personal brand. Every detail, from the hem of your slacks to the collar of your shirt speaks volumes about how you feel about yourself. A clean, perfectly tailored outfit and a well-groomed face says, “I value myself and have something to contribute.”
The ability to build a solid team. A confident manager allows others to revel in the spotlight. If you are in a supervisory role, your job is to identify the potential in your employees, invest in them, and offer opportunities to flourish. Giving credit where it’s due and showing appreciation for a job well done is the mark of someone who understands hard work and determination. Look for ways to lift others up and help them do more than they thought they could. This results not only in a skilled staff, but an engaged and loyal one.
Being steady, reliable and accountable. Great leaders know that they are setting the tone for the office and conduct themselves accordingly. They don’t try to pretend they know everything; they actively seek out the best advice and surround themselves with top talent. When things go wrong, they don’t finger-point and make excuses. They take the time to figure out the disconnect and try again.
Act with the greater good in mind. They consistently demonstrate integrity through a commitment to doing the right thing, even under difficult circumstances. While it may be easier to sit back and let someone else take the blame, a strong executive will share the glory and take responsibility for areas that need improvement. She knows and values the importance of the team.
For more of my career advice, check out my article, How to Follow Up After a Job Interview, on The Huffington Post.