Top 5 Qualities That Lead to Success in Your Job

What are the keys to success?

Posted Dec 10, 2019

What qualities does it take to be successful in your job and in your career? From an employer’s perspective, what qualities should you be looking for in hiring new employees? Here are the top five.

1. Competence. I know this sounds obvious, but possessing important job-related knowledge and skills is the most important foundation for success. In a new job, does this mean you have to be an instant expert? Not necessarily. Even new employees can demonstrate competence and the ability to learn quickly. In organizations that play favorites and reward mediocrity, demonstrating competence will eventually win out (if not in your current organization, in another one). Working hard to increase your knowledge and skillset is the path to career success.

2. Commitment. The second key to success is to demonstrate that you are motivated and committed to your job, the team and the organization. To be truly committed it is critical that you are in a job and organization that aligns with your values and goals. If you do share the organization’s mission, values, and goals, demonstrate your commitment through your actions—behaviors that go above and beyond your job description, what organizational psychologists call “organizational citizenship behaviors” (OCBs)—helping others, talking up the organization, volunteering.

3. Conscientiousness. This concerns your reliability. Can people count on you to show up on time, meet deadlines, and do error-free work? Conscientious employees gain the faith and trust of their managers and peers in the organization. Making sure that your work is consistently good and timely is an important key to success.

4. Adaptability. A critical component of success is being able to adapt to different situations, circumstances, and people in the workplace. Adaptability can make a poor situation much better, and learning to fit in is critical to workplace success. If you establish a reputation for managing difficult situations—“hitting the curveballs that your job throws at you”—you are on the path to career success.

5. Positive Politics. Political behavior is common in organizations. The key is to make sure that when people are acting politically, it helps the organization and its personnel to function positively. As psychologist Robert Hogan points out, positive political behavior is all about getting along with others as you get ahead in the organization.

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