Any job in the modern economy in which brains trump brawn has some things in common. These days, we all need these 12 traits to thrive at work:
The devastating effects of the Great Recession on employment continue to hover over job seekers like storm clouds. It takes almost limitless persistence to find a job. That attribute, though, continues to be critical on the job, as well. Being persistent often leads to a new project, a promotion or other opportunities. Keep at it.
No, work is not the place for bawdy stand-up comedy. And we’ve all worked with, or heard about, a guy or gal who couldn’t resist sharing inappropriate jokes. That’s not humor, that’s harassment. The idea with this one is that a jovial comment, a lighthearted remark, or a well-timed laugh at work tends to make the place, and the people, happier.
Be the person a colleague can confide in, with trust. It shows you have integrity. You might also end up hearing more of the goings on at work precisely because you’re not a tattler. If you can’t help yourself from gossiping, make sure you stop from blasting the boss in the office or on social media, outside of work hours. Not. Smart.
4. Common sense
So very essential. And yet, not nearly common enough.
This doesn’t refer to age, but behavior and mannerisms. Remember Ron Burgundy from the movie “Anchorman”? This is the opposite of him.
An independent employee who’s effective also collaborates. Independence, in this case, doesn’t mean being a loner or a know-it-all. What it does mean is someone who knows when to proceed on task with his or her ample skills and talent.
Nuance matters here. Confidence is not arrogance. Confident people take risks and forge ahead. But they also are self-assured enough to know when they don’t know the best way. And then they seek input from others.
On the job, those who do what they’re supposed to, when they are supposed to do it, move up. Those who don’t get moved out.
Employees are humans, not robots. The best bosses and workers have the flexibility to grant an exception or to rebalance the load, depending on circumstances. Colleagues who give others some slack will often get some when they need it.
Finding purpose through and in your work is vital. If that isn’t present for you, it’s probably a sign you’re not in the right place or field. Enjoyable work has a sense of purpose woven into it.
Grace enhances just about any situation. Make a mistake? Get an award? Notice a colleague is having a bad day? Act with grace.
Observe with skill and listen closely. Sure, speaking up has its place. But all of us at work should hone our ability to perceive. Paying attention yields all kinds of dividends.
How many of these traits do you think you already have? And which ones could use some more practice? Let me know your suggestions.
Becky Gaylord worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Sydney, Australia, before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. You can read Becky’s blog Framing What Works. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.